This week we’re holding a lens up to our microscopic friends and foes. We dive into the world of microorganisms in this instalment of our A-Z.
What is a microorganism?
A microorganism is a living organism which can only be seen with the use of a microscope as either a single-celled form or a colony of cells. Microorganisms have been at the centre of scientific advances since the 19th century (such as the discovery of Penicillin) and were recently used to restore the crystal waters on the coasts of Croatia. However, we most frequently encounter them as bacteria, viruses and fungus, giving them on the most part, a bad reputation.
The critical, unknown risks microorganisms pose to our health is a big issue, and being prepared is key. Earlier this year The World Health Organization (WHO) published their findings on “Disease X” in its latest blueprint for accelerating research and development during health emergencies such as Ebola or Sars epidemics.
In May this year, a "Clade X" simulation exercise was enacted to represent effect in real-time what could happen. At the table, people acting out the scenario were the sorts of individuals who would actually be responding to a situation like this in real life; including US Senators.
After a simulated 20 months from the start of the outbreak, estimates were 150 million dead around the globe, with that number expected to rise as there was no vaccine for the illness yet ready.
But this, thankfully, is all fictional for now. In reality, the most common place we experience the fight against our microbiotic foes is within healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).
Populating news feeds almost daily, these are infections which occur whilst patients are in a care setting, not before. Many infections are caused by micro-organisms already present in or on the patient's own body, causing more acute problems when the body's defences are weakened, or breached by surgery or other medical procedures.
The fight against infection demands smart ways of working and constant vigilance. That’s where our Vernacare system comes in.
Our system eradicates the risks associated with traditional bedpan washers and handwashing which do not always ensure that reusable bedpans and urinals are free of pathogens and bacteria such as VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and MSRA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Instead, the Vernacare system macerates and safely disposes of the waste and also the single-use containers together, with the aid of SmartFlow™ technology.
This innovative solution has improved the lives of patients and healthcare professionals alike all over the world, and it remains at the heart of our mission to break the chain of infection, reducing risk and enhancing dignity.
For more information about our SmartFlow technology visit here