The healthcare industry is facing massive changes in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past few months, infection control practices in healthcare facilities have been scrutinised due to the vast number of patients and staff who have become infected by Covid-19.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, we are beginning to see reformation in healthcare, with a heightened focus on infection prevention.

Following advice from the World Health Organization, medical facilities are now evaluating their infection prevention and control procedures to ensure they are protecting patients and staff from infection. One of the key changes that experts predict will transform healthcare in the coming months and years is contactless technology.  

The need for contactless healthcare solutions

Dangerous healthcare-associated infections such as C Difficile and VRE can easily be transmitted from patients to healthcare workers. This happens through both direct contact with blood and bodily fluids and indirect contact with items and surfaces in the patient’s environment.

If healthcare workers do not strictly follow infection control precautions such as careful hand washing, these pathogens can spread from surface to surface throughout healthcare facilities. Once on a surface, these pathogens can survive for extended periods:

  • SARS-CoV-2 -> 72 hours1
  • Clostridium Difficile - > 5 months1
  • S. aureus (including MRSA) - > 12 months1
  • Enterococcus spp. (including VRE) - > 48 months1
Hospital bed with bacteria on the frame

Hospital bed, cross-contamination risk

In medical facilities there are over 93 contact episodes an hour between patients, staff and visitors2. It is therefore easy to see regularly touched surfaces such as door handles, sluice room equipment and patient care equipment become contaminated. The task for infection prevention and control specialists is to find ways to limit the risk of cross-infection.  

In recent years, more healthcare facilities have begun adopting touchless technologies. Touchless technology removes the risk of contaminating or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, restricting the spread of dangerous pathogens.

Benefits of a contactless hospital macerator

One of the highest risk activities in healthcare is patient toileting and human waste management. There are several dangerous pathogens found in human waste including C. Difficile, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Norovirus. These pathogens can be life-threatening to immunocompromised patients, so it is crucial that human waste management procedures limit the possibility of these pathogens spreading from patient to patient.

When toileting patients, transporting soiled bedpans to a sluice room and loading them into a bedpan washer, there is a risk that a healthcare worker will come into contact with infectious waste through splashes and spillages, allowing contaminated droplets to land on their hands and uniform. This contamination will then be transferred onto any surface that the professional touches, increasing the risk of cross-infection. 

To limit the potential for cross-contamination, Vernacare’s hospital macerators are all entirely contactless, designed to dispose of single-use pulp containers and their contents without the need to touch any part of the machine.

The lid of the machine is opened and closed using a foot sensor located directly below the machine. Once the machines lid is closed, the cycle will begin automatically without the need to touch any controls.

The machine fully disposes of each bedpan and its contents, eliminating the risk of any infection, unlike the alternative reusable systems where improperly disinfected reusable bedpans can spread harmful droplets from patient to patient.

Not only is a brand-new disposable pulp container available for the next patient to use safely, the heathcare worker can rest assured knowing that they are not transmitting dangerous pathogens around the ward.   

Hands-free hospital macerators help to keep healthcare workers and patients safe from dangerous pathogens that can linger for months on sluice room surfaces.  It is unsurprising that they are therefore considered the safest method of human waste disposal.

Contactless hospital macerator

Hands-free hospital macerator operation

Prevention is better than cure

As life now begins to return to normality post the Covid-19 pandemic, infection prevention and control is a key priority in healthcare facilities. Innovative technology, such as contactless healthcare solutions, will help ensure that future outbreaks and pandemics can be better managed and controlled. 

Intelligent infection prevention is our priority at Vernacare. If you are interested in making a system change, Vernacare can provide you with the full solution including contactless hospital macerators, single-use pulp toileting containers and maceratable wipes.

Discover more about the risk of reusables and how Vernacare can help you switch to intelligent infection prevention.  


  1. Kramer A, et al. BMC Infectious Diseases 2006;6:130
  2. Cheng et al (2015) Hand-touch contact assessment of high-touch and mutual-touch surfaces among healthcare workers, patients, and visitors. Journal of Hospital Infection

Share this article