Being such high-touch environments, hygiene practice in therapy settings, such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage and myotherapy, bowen and beauty therapy, etc., is crucial to a therapist’s duty of care, even more so these days with a heightened awareness among consumers.
A significant amount of government funding is consistently allocated to research into infection risk and prevention in hospital environments, however, the same cannot be said for therapy environments. And the areas of risk highlighted in hospitals, and the subsequent solutions developed and processes implemented to improve their hygiene practice, are not always transferrable.
Such is the lack of research into hygiene and hygiene practice in therapy industries, a systematic review, performed by an independent microbiologist working at Macquarie University in Sydney, found only one article* where data gathered from a test environment could potentially be considered relevant for therapy settings.
The article investigated the bacterial contamination of chiropractic treatment table surfaces, as well as the attitudes and practices of therapists towards table disinfection. Of the 14 tables tested:
It was concluded that the “…deficiency in table/paper design may be deemed the most substantial risk factor for horizontal transmission of infectious disease.”
And although 81% of therapists surveyed agreed on the importance of disinfecting their tables, 38% of those surveyed reported no routine disinfecting protocol, with 27% disinfecting only on a weekly or as-needed basis.
It was this lack of research that prompted Purifas’ founder and practicing physiotherapist to commission his own preliminary research into the infection risks associated with therapy beds, with a focus on the transmission of both bacteria and saliva.
The research would also compare the clinical effectiveness of using antibacterial wipes (which typically claim to kill 99.9% of germs) in removing bacteria, with the clinical effectiveness of using Purifas’ single-use barriers, namely the Purifas FaceShield and the Purifas BodyShield.
The test environment was such that:
The results were shocking!
A colony-forming unit (CFU) is a unit that estimates the number of bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc., in a sample that are able to multiply. This is important when analysing bacteria in experiments where a quantitative analysis/comparison of bacterial growth is required.
A statistical analysis of all data collected revealed the following:
* Puhl, Aaron A. et al. (2011) ‘An investigation of bacterial contamination on treatment table surfaces of chiropractors in private practice and attitudes and practices concerning table disinfection’, American Journal of Infection Control, 39(1), pp. 56–63. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2010.11.001.
Have you ever considered how much it really costs to use towels in your clinic? Not just the cost of purchasing the towels but the ongoing cost of using and maintaining the towels? We have. And we think you’ll be surprised!
You asked and we delivered! Our FacePad covers are now available in a wipeable version and they’re the epitome of convenience… simply clean and sanitise using an antibacterial wipe and the FacePad is ready for your next client.