Advantages of quaternary ammonium compounds

There is considerable evidence that contaminated surfaces and the untreated hands of healthcare professionals contribute to the spread of nosocomial pathogens within the hospital setting.

Tim Sandle discusses the advantages of quaternary ammonium compounds for ward disinfection and infection control. 

Healthcare‚Äźassociated infections present a serious and ever-present source of morbidity and mortality. Within the hospital setting, the risk needs to be addressed through an effective infection control strategy, which must include surface cleaning and disinfection, glove disinfection, and hand sanitisation. These measures should be observed by healthcare professionals for the personal hygiene, decontamination of the ward and for treating equipment and surfaces in-between patients. With the latter step, this is additionally important since many patients will be asymptomatic carriers of infectious agents. While many of the microorganisms against which these measures are targeted will not pose a risk to the general populace under normal circumstances, risks exist should these organisms enter the blood or tissues and there are enhanced concerns with immunocompromised patients.

Central to the infection control strategy is the selection and use of an appropriate disinfectant.1 An ideal disinfectant will have a broad spectrum of activity and a relatively short contact time.2 A suitable disinfectant, which meets these objectives, is a blend of quaternary ammonium compounds. As an additional advantage, formulations can be supplemented with detergents to improve cleanability.

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