Paediatric playrooms and toys: Do they contribute to hospital acquired infection – and can this source of transmission be reduced?
Maintaining a clean environment around sick and unwell children offers many challenges. Many children easily become bored and need to play with toys and games. Younger children often experience their environment through touch and taste, placing objects into their mouths. Others simply start exploring, playing with objects they find and getting into areas that adults may simply avoid.
Add to this the complexities of the illnesses and treatments (that can further compromise young immune systems) and the whole host of family and friends (that want to visit) and you have the makings of a recipe pot of pathogen challenge that needs close scrutiny and proactive action.
Ensuring that the child's environment upon admission is pathogen-free is an important start. Regular deep cleaning with proven and effective technology and an aggressive approach to HAI outbreaks are essential. And the regular cleaning of toys and other playtime objects can also help reduce the risk of unwanted infection challenges being passed around.
Additionally, having the ability to isolate selected patients due to the nature of their illness or following major surgery/treatment, whilst still providing the nursing staff with excellent visibility and bed space working area, is a must. Using partitioning systems/pop-up rooms, the risk of unwanted pathogens getting to the patient can be minimised, whilst at the same time, isolated infectious patients are less able to pass their infections around other recovering children.