Alert: Mouldly Mattresses May Pose Risk To Health Workers

Suzanne Rhodenizer Rose RN BScN CIC, Director, Healthcare Quality, Patient Safety and IPCNS, is asking Directors/Managers of Quality & Patient Safety and District Infection Control Practitioners to get in touch if you come across mouldy mattresses in the facility you work in.
As you may be aware from recent news reports, Capital Health uncovered mould on several mattresses while new mattress covers were being replaced as part of routine maintenance. As a result of their auditing process, more mattresses were found to contain mould.
While Capital Health is working diligently to rectify this situation for their district, it is important that we ensure that this is not a concern for other district health authorities (DHA) in the province. Mould can pose a health risk not only to patients, but also to those who work in our health care facilities.
Patient safety is important to all of us. The Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) is recommending that acute care facilities in the DHAs and the IWK Health Centre make arrangements to investigate if the issue uncovered at Capital Health may also be of concern in your facilities. This may involve a visual inspection of mattresses, including assessment of the integrity of the mattress coverings and ensuring they are water-proof. Districts should also ensure that the products used for cleaning and disinfecting are compatible with the mattresses covering and do not contribute to breakdown of the mattress material.
In the event that mould is found and is significant, the mattress should be disposed of using proper disposal procedures. In some cases, it may be suitable for mattresses to be covered with a new water-proof, vapour-proof mattress covers to ensure there is no risk to patients. Decision-making should be done in consultation with district experts (e.g. infection prevention and control, infectious diseases, occupational health and safety).
As a result of this situation, DHAs/IWK should also ensure a process is established for ongoing routine inspection of mattresses/coverings and appropriate replacement when necessary.
If you discover similar issues in your facilities as a result of your investigation, I would ask you to notify me with the details.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me at 902-722-1244 or via email at suzanne.rhodenizer-rose@gov.ns.ca.
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