Fun fact, if Eco-Pro were a person, they would probably be a bit of a germaphobe (after all, our Eco Pro Pillow Covers are designed to be thoroughly disinfected with a spray and wipe). The idea that patients could be laying on a germ-filled treatment table and pillow (frankly) gives us the willies! So, how do you make your patient’s experience as germ-free as possible?
The answer is as simple as making sure your patients always remove their shoes in the clinic.
Making shoe removal a regular part of your clinic routine might seem hard at first. But, studies show that shoes are a potential source of many of the nastiest germs around.
SO JUST HOW DIRTY ARE SHOES?
Consider this: An often referenced study from the University of Arizona found E. Coli or Coliform on 96% of the shoes they tested. University Microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba said, “Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria.”
Meaning that these germs persist long after you’ve been exposed to them. They also travel with you from location to location. So, if a patient happened to get E. Coli on their shoe on the way to work one morning, they could potentially bring the germ to work, then to the grocery store, then to your clinic, and so on.
Another study found that two in every five pairs of shoes were contaminated with Clostridium Difficile. C.diff is a “hardy” bacterium that can be resistant to several antibiotics and led to nearly 30,000 deaths in the United States in 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Just think about how many patients you see that may have weakened or somehow compromised immune systems. You’re no longer simply asking patients to remove their shoes to be polite. You’re asking them to remove their shoes to protect themselves, and other patients, from potentially deadly disease.
MAKE SHOES-OFF THE POLICY IN YOUR CLINIC
Many patients don’t automatically think about removing their shoes in the clinic. And at first, it can be a bit of an “extra step” but once they get in the habit, it becomes an easy routine. Being consistent and always asking patients to remove their shoes beginning with the evaluation will typically lead to them doing it without even asking for follow ups.
PROTECTING PATIENTS WITH A GERM-FREE TREATMENT TABLE
So, what can you do to protect your patients?
1. “Would You Please Remove Your Shoes Before Getting On to the table?”
This simple request can slow the spread of dangerous bacteria. Some of those same researchers who researched how much bacteria is on our shoes, also found that the dangerous bacteria transfer from the soles of shoes back onto floors at a rate of 90%-95%. A patient simply removing their shoes before entering the treatment area can drastically reduce the transfer of disease.
2. Wipe Down the Clinic Table and Pillow Between Use
Therapists and clinical staff routinely wipe-down treatment tables between use – often without giving it a second thought. Using a good antimicrobial cleaner like Protex to wipe down your therapy table can drastically help reduce germ transmission. Please note that “kill times” on many disinfecting sprays and wipes can vary between 1-4 minutes so read your cleaner’s application instructions to make sure you give your cleaner time to work!
3. Change Out the Pillow Cover
Using a traditional pillow with a cloth pillow case on it can allow for harmful bacteria and fluids to penetrate to the pillow inside. And since the pillow inside is rarely cleaned, it can harbor harmful bacteria over time. Changing to the EcoPro Pillow Cover eliminates this problem by providing an impenetrable and completely cleanable surface. And by getting rid of pillow cases, EcoPro Pillow Covers can also save time, money, and thousands of gallons of water every year. You can find four options to match your current therapy tables here.
Keep your patients healthy and happy. Simply asking your patients to remove their shoes regularly, combined with complying with your cleaner’s recommended disinfection practices, and making the switch to a completely cleanable pillow cover can go a long way to making your clinic as germ-free as possible.