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Are your mattresses hygienically clean, or just physically clean? Our complete guide to mattress decontamination.

At a time when infection control and prevention is paramount in care homes, how do you ensure that your mattresses are hygienically clean as well as physically clean?

Regulation 12 of CQC KLOE’s – safe care and treatment outlines that Providers must make sure that equipment being used is safe and that includes prevention of and controlling the spread of infection.

Close contact between residents and mattresses means that transmission of microorganisms between residents and mattresses and vice versa is facilitated. Bed components such as bed frames, mattresses and side rails may become contaminated with micro-organisms through direct contact with the skin scales and body fluids, thereby becoming the source of infections and or cross infection.

Poor maintenance of foam mattresses and their covers may lead to staining of the foam or inner surfaces of the mattress covers. Recent research highlights that different types of trauma to mattress covers can result in damage which is not visible to the naked eye, but can allow fluid to enter the mattress.

During the current epidemic, infection control is paramount, and although wiping down of a mattress can give the illusion of physical cleanliness, it does not guarantee that the risk of infection is eliminated.

When wiping a mattress over for a general clean think about the zips, the whole top cover including the covers over the zips, under edges of mattresses where a build-up of contaminate is at most risk, bases of the mattresses and if the cover is damaged the interior foam/cells might be contaminated.

We have a FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide available when you subscribe to our weekly news bulletins. Email us at [email protected] to receive your free copy today.

What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of mattresses?

There is more than one correct method for decontaminating mattresses. The recommended method varies depending on the perceived infection risk and prevention protocols.

Here are the key differences between each method:

  • Cleaning physically removes dirt, germs and bacteria from the surface of the mattress using detergents. You should use a disposable cleaning wipe, or a clean cloth dampened with warm water (at least 40 °C) and detergent.
  • Disinfection uses chemicals to kill bacteria on the mattress. You should use a disinfectant, such as a mild chlorine solution, on a disposable cloth. Then wait, don’t wipe the mattress dry immediately, leave at least 5 minutes so the disinfectant has enough contact time to kill the bacteria. A hot washing machine cycle is also an option for disinfecting mattress covers.
  • Sterilisation uses heat or chemicals to kill all microbes on the mattress. This means that sterilisation eliminates harmless microbes as well as harmful ones, ensuring anything which disinfection may have missed will also be destroyed.

Here's how to clean your mattress according to risk level...

Infection Risk - Low

When the mattress has not been in contact with a patient or has only been in contact with healthy skin.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning

Infection Risk - Medium

When the mattress has been in contact with mucous membranes; is at risk of contamination with virulent or readily transmissible organisms; has been in contact with blood or bodily fluids; or is going to be used for someone with a compromised immune system.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by disinfection

Infection Risk - High

When the mattress has been in close contact with broken skin or broken mucous membranes or is going to be used in a sterile area.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by sterilisation

It is recommended, as part of the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) that all mattresses undergo a decontamination process at least once a year or more if needed in order for your organisation to remain compliant.

With our mattress decontamination service, you can rest assured that your residents’ mattresses are just as clean as their sheets.

Hcsuk offer a full certificated decontamination, diagnostic and repair service on a wide range of static, hybrid, dynamic alternating pressure, bariatric and turning mattresses as well as air/foam cushion seating supports and cot bumpers.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency recommends that mattresses have their covers removed and are inspected inside to check the surface and the mattress core for staining or contamination.

With our Mattress Decontamination Service we can take care of it all for you, ensuring the mattress is cleaned to MHRA standards - we will even arrange your collection and redelivery*. Your residents can sleep snug-as-a-bug in a clean, safe bed.

To book your mattress decontamination now, contact Rachel at [email protected]

This essential service:

  • Meets PUWER regulations - from the HSE
  • Meets DoH95 (18) - regulations
  • Immersion process formulated to kill HCAIs (Healthcare Associated Infections)
  • Demonstrates you are operating a ‘Safe’ service to CQC, under Regulation 12.

The decontamination facility we use has been built with infection control in mind throughout, including separate “contaminated” and “decontaminated” areas. Both areas have their own entries and exits to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Staff at all times adhere to strict hygiene policy, and colour coded gloves/aprons are used in each of the areas.

The facilities have been viewed and approved by NHS/PCT trusts and our service offers a swift turn-around, usually 7-10 days.

What is the decontamination process used?

The top/base cover of each mattress is removed and laundered to DoH specification using only non-biological detergents.

The inners (cells) of the mattress are then transferred into our immersion tank which is filled with a biocidal solution that is proven to kill HCAI's (healthcare associated infections) includingMRSA, C-Diff, Ecoli, Salmonella. It also has a pleasant fragrance which removes unpleasant odours. The chemical actually kills on impact but the whole tank process takes around 20-30 minutes to ensure that every mattress gets an intensive decontaminatio

In addition to cleaning your mattress, it will also go through a diagnostic health check as part of our service and we can provide quotes and recommendations for any repairs to ensure you get the most life out of your mattresses too. No work is carried out until you have agreed to quotes for any work required.

Want more? What about a loan mattress?

For £40 we will loan you a mattress to use whilst yours is being cleaned! So you can be sure you have the equipment in place for your residents as all times.

All equipment has a complete audit trail, once cleaned and quality checked, all systems are certificated with a decontamination certificate as evidence that the equipment has completed our decontamination procedure.

Book your mattress decontamination by contacting Rachel at: [email protected]

Don't forget your FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide by subscribing to Hcsuk weekly news bulletins. To subscribe, email us at [email protected] to request your copy.

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