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Method of dealing with human excreta is relevant factor in healthcare-associated infections

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are one of the most common complications of hospital care and are responsible for increased morbidity and mortality rates. Global studies have confirmed that HAIs extend the duration of hospital stays, require more intensive diagnostic procedures and lead to higher costs due to the need for additional treatment. “One of the most overlooked items in the battle against HAIs is, without doubt, the bedpan,” says Gertie van Knippenberg emphatically. A former nurse from Venlo in the Netherlands, van Knippenberg runs her own international consultancy firm – KNowhow Infection Prevention (KNIP) – as well as giving lectures all over the world and publishing regular articles on bedpans and bedpan reprocessing. She was recently invited to speak at an international symposium organised by MEIKO, a manufacturer of cleaning and disinfection appliances based in Offenburg, Germany.

The international symposium, which was held in Berlin, was attended by more than 100 guests from 35 countries, and van Knippenberg had a clear message for MEIKO’s invited guests: “Holland has achieved resounding success in its efforts to prevent healthcare-associated infections. The processes that have been implemented in hospitals to prevent HAIs include professional methods for dealing with human excreta such as urine, sputum and faeces. The concentration of microorganisms, or ‘bioburden’, is especially high in faeces. That makes it highly infectious and prone to cause infections among staff and patients if it is handled incorrectly.”

As well as hearing first-hand reports of key problems, the attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about MEIKO’s demonstration units in technical training sessions with the company’s country-specific consultants. Markus Braun, who heads up MEIKO’s Medical Technology division, was delighted with the results: “As the initiator of this three-day symposium, MEIKO has once again demonstrated its commitment to promoting an active exchange of knowledge in the fields of hygiene and new technologies for cleaning and disinfection appliances.” MEIKO has been setting impressive standards in international markets with its cleaning and disinfection appliances for some 20 years and has gained a well-earned reputation as one of the innovation leaders.