Microorganisms in ice machines, ice dispensers, and ice storage chests either come from portable water from which it’s produced, transferal through hands and other tools, or both. If there are microorganisms in an ice machine, they contaminate the ice and may lead to bloodstream infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and patient colonization.
Important Safety Practices in Healthcare Facilities
Risk assessment is the most fundamental step in the safe handling of ice machines.
You need to identify different risks that you may be exposed to when going to a hospital or dealing with a patient.
- If your hands may be exposed to contaminated items, consider wearing non-sterile gloves
- If you expect your clothing to contaminate by sprays or splashes or contact with the dirty item, always wear a robe or a gown
- If you think your face, eyes, nose, or mouth may be exposed to harmful elements or you need to get closer (up to 2 meters) to a patient that’s vomiting or coughing, make sure you wear eye and face masks
- If you’re dealing with a COVID-19 patient or someone who’s suspected of the disease, wear an N-95 respirator and other COVID-19-related personal protective equipment (PPE).
Since these practices also include hand hygiene, they can help you avoid the transmission of germs through ice handling and transportation. It’s best if you try using contact-less ice machines and water dispensers if possible.
Recommendations to Prevent Disease Outbreaks from Contaminated Water and Ice
If you manage a healthcare facility, here are important things you should be mindful of to protect the patients and staff from diseases that spread because of the use of contaminated ice.
Safe Distribution of Water and Ice
To prevent disease outbreaks from contaminated water and ice, you need to ensure safe dispensing, handling of cooling supplies and tools, and storage and transportation of ice within the healthcare facility.
Here are some important things to remember to prevent disease outbreaks from ice containers.
- When dispensing ice from an ice machine into a container (i.e., pitcher, ice bucket, cup, or an ice cube tray), make sure it’s (the container) intact and clean.
- Strictly instruct the staff, patients, and visitors to avoid refilling the containers, regardless of whether they’re disposable or cleanable.
- Make sure all the intact containers are kept in clean and restricted places and are protected against germs and contaminations.
- When dedicating a container to a specific patient, label it with their name and try to replace it regularly.
- Make sure the ice isn’t returned to the bulk supply after being dispensed from the ice maker.
- Try using ice machines that don’t require you to use ice scoops but if they can’t dispense the ice itself, make sure you’re storing the scoop in a separate holder that’s clean, non-absorbent, and smooth.
- Never leave the ice scoop in the dispenser or ice machine.
- Only use food-safe chemicals for sanitizing and cleaning the containers.
- When there’s an outbreak, restrict patient and visitor access to nourishment areas.
Ice machines can become contaminated because of several reasons, including but not limited to seeding from the main water supply, negligence towards hand hygiene, irregular cleaning, and improper plumbing.
Here are some important recommendations to follow:
- Ice is used for several purposes in a hospital. Make sure you keep ice intended for consumption in a separate place from the ice produced for other applications (such as clinical and pharmaceutical specimens, medical solutions, ice packs, etc.)
- Use contact-less ice machines and water and ice dispensers in the areas accessible to visitors and patients
- If there are ice storage bins in the refrigerators or other places, don’t allow anyone other than the staff members to use them.
- Ensure regular cleaning and maintenance of ice machines and perform deep cleaning after a specified period.
- Unplug ice machines when there’s a disruption in the water supply. Upon the restoration of the water supply, make sure the supply line is flushed before connecting it again. Learn about the details regarding flushing and disinfecting your ice machine from the user manual provided by your ice machine rental service product manufacturer.
Premium Quality Water and Ice Dispensers
LA Ice Machine offers the finest quality commercial ice dispensers for hospitals, restaurants, and other large facilities in Los Angeles. You can get water filters, dispensers, and ice machines by subscribing to their affordable rental programs. Their products and services are widely known for their performance and reliability.
Their ice machines for hospitals come with a warranty, and they provide 24/7 emergency repair services to make sure their clients get access to fresh and clean water and ice whenever there’s a need. The company understands the importance of ice machines for healthcare facilities and helps its clients install ice machines in the best locations. They provide countertop and modular ice machines to their healthcare clients at cost-effective prices. Their ice machines are energy-efficient that can help you reduce your energy bills as well.
If you want to learn more about their services and how they help their clients install and repair commercial ice machines, feel free to contact them today. The company provides excellent customer support and is recognized as one of the leading providers of ice machine rental services.