Different types of contamination pose a different level of risk and therefore can require a different decontamination process. For example:
Low risk contaminations usually require a simple cleaning process:
A dusty surface on a shelf is a low risk as it is unlikely to cause harm to anyone and is easily cleaned. Although this would be classed as a low risk contamination, staff must still wear PPE as good practice to avoid any transfer of dirt causing unhygienic/dirty uniforms. Staff still must wash their hands thoroughly, especially when they are assisting residents afterwards. Just because a contamination is classed as a low risk it does not mean that staff do not need to follow health and safety policies. There are domestic staff to undertake these simple cleaning tasks. Staff must work from the cleaner areas to the dirtier areas to minimise the spread of infection. Furniture polishes are available for this process but a neutral detergent can be used with warm water to rinse. Disposable surface wipes can also be used. Cleaning removes 80% of micro-organisms which is ideal for low risk cleaning tasks.
Medium risk contamination usually requires disinfecting or sterilising:
Medium risk contaminations such as toilets do pose a risk to health if they are not kept clean. Disinfecting these contaminations requires the use of chemical substances/heat to reduce micro-organisms to a level which is not harmful to health. Disinfection may not inactivate some viruses/bacteria. Disinfectants should only be used in the areas where harmful germs are likely to exist. Disinfectants kill the most harmful bacteria. Most disinfectants have a strong smell and therefore should be used in recommended amounts in areas where germ control is required. Disinfection kills most micro-organisms which is ideal for medium risk cleaning tasks.
High risk contaminations usually require sterilisation:
Bodily fluids tend to pose a high risk of