A medical exam table is a staple in every healthcare facility. But cleaning and disinfecting the table requires more than a wet wipe or some soap and water.
To help you keep germs at bay, look for exam tables with easy-to-clean surfaces and durable cover materials. Also, choose models with drawer and cabinet systems to store supplies out of sight when not in use.
Hygiene and Infection Control
A medical exam table is an essential piece of equipment in many hospital rooms and healthcare practices. These tables support patients in a side-lying, supine, or prone position and come in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different patient populations. They feature adjustable features, such as removable headrests and footrests that can be folded away, making it easy to position the patient for treatment.
Proper hygiene and infection control practices are essential for preventing the spread of germs and bacteria in a healthcare setting. The first step in a proper infection control program is to establish standard precautions. These include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, appropriate patient placement, cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, textiles and laundry management, safe injection practices, and proper disposal of needles.
Other important practices include using respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette and separating patients who are showing signs of contagious illness (i.e., vomiting, fever, cough) from other patients as soon as possible. Healthcare staff should also be educated on the ways that infections are spread so that they can help prevent them from spreading.
When working with patients, healthcare personnel should always wash their hands before and after touching a patient. They should also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after interacting with a patient and wear disposable gloves before and after touching a patient’s body and face. They should also use face masks when interacting with patients who are known or suspected to have a transmissible infectious disease.
High-touch surfaces, such as counters, sinks, chairs, light switches, and computer keyboards, should be cleaned regularly to kill germs and bacteria. These areas can easily become incubators for common illnesses like the flu or colds. The floor of a patient’s room can also harbor infectious bacteria and germs, which can then be tracked onto other surfaces.
Lastly, healthcare staff should carefully roll up patient linens before discarding them or sending them off for laundering to avoid releasing microorganisms into the air or contaminating other surfaces in the room. Additionally, healthcare workers should never touch their faces or noses with contaminated gloves and should wash their hands after handling soiled linens.
Best Practices for Cleaning and Maintaining Exam Tables
Despite their innocuous appearance, medical exam tables are often overlooked when it comes to routine cleaning and disinfection. Even with the help of a disposable liner, the medical exam table surfaces can be a magnet for germs and other contamination. That’s why it’s essential to keep up with regular cleaning and disinfection of all the surfaces in a doctor’s office, including tables and chairs.
Aside from sanitizing wipes, proper disinfectants should also be used to clean any equipment left on the exam room surface, such as blood pressure cuffs or an otoscope. Additionally, vomit, blood, and other bodily fluids should be cleaned immediately and cleaned before the next patient’s appointment. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of healthcare-associated illnesses in a potentially flammable hospital setting.
Medical exam tables can be categorized as either treatment or box tables. The latter are more commonly used in physical therapy settings, as well as in hospitals and private practice offices. They are padded for comfort and usually upholstered in healthcare-grade vinyl. Some are able to be configured into different positions for certain treatments, such as the Trendelenburg position. They also come with storage drawers for additional convenience.
Treatment tables, on the other hand, are much simpler and are used exclusively for examinations and minor procedures. They are primarily designed for patient comfort and upholstered in soft, easy-to-clean vinyl. They are typically able to be adjusted with the push of a button and have preset positions for ease of use.
Regardless of their differences, both types of medical exam tables should be cleaned and disinfected between patients to prevent cross-contamination and infection. However, it is important to make sure the right cleaners are used for your specific medical exam tables, as some solutions can cause permanent damage to the vinyl upholstery.
If you want to ensure the long-term durability of your exam table, choose a solid model that is available in more than 30 colors from top-quality water- and fire-resistant imitation leather. In addition, all Novak M products are backed by extensive international certifications and comply with the strictest medical regulations worldwide.
Maintaining a Clean Environment
As you know, cleaning and disinfecting medical equipment is critical for any medical facility. Germs can linger on many surfaces; even one small touch could make a patient sick. The exam table is one of the most important pieces of medical equipment to keep clean and sanitized. This includes the upholstery, which should be washed and disinfected multiple times per day.
When cleaning and disinfecting your medical exam tables, it’s crucial to find a balance between germ-killing solutions that also don’t damage the vinyl. Cleaners containing bleach and strong germ-killing agents can degrade medical table vinyl upholstery, leaving it brittle and cracking. Choose dish detergent that is specifically designed to cut grease and food bacteria without damaging vinyl.
The CDC recommends washing and disinfecting medical tables with the appropriate solution after each use. In addition, it’s a good idea to wash and disinfect the upholstery every week with a mild liquid soap and water mixture.
While many doctors and clinics use paper roll covers to provide a hygienic surface for patients, opting for a more durable material like vinyl or polyethylene is best. These options are available in a wide range of colors and help create a welcoming environment for your patients.
It’s also essential to clean and sanitize any surfaces that patients come into contact with, including light switches, door knobs, and towel dispensers. Wipe these surfaces down with a hospital-grade cleaner or disinfectant spray that can kill dangerous microorganisms for a full week.
A quality exam table should be padded for comfort and upholstered with healthcare-grade vinyl for easy cleaning. The padded top should be removable, as it provides easier access to the folds and crevices underneath where bacteria, dust, and dirt can build up over time.
Lastly, the base of an exam table should feature storage drawers to keep supplies out of sight when not in use. This helps keep the area clean and free of clutter, making it easier to perform thorough cleaning and disinfection. To maximize the efficiency and convenience of your exam rooms, consider choosing a box table with dual-access drawers that allow quick access to supplies no matter where they are in the cabinet.
Disinfecting Exam Tables
Medical exam tables are essential to provide premium patient care and comfort in a hospital, clinic, or private practice. Because of their constant contact with patients, they can become a repository for germs and contaminants, making proper disinfection a top priority.
To help ensure that your facility maintains a high hygiene and infection control standard, use a chemical-based sterilant cleaner designed for vinyl upholstery. These cleaners offer a balance between strong bacteria-killing properties and a safe pH level for use on vinyl. While they may cost more than traditional cleaners, they effectively protect your healthcare furniture and reduce the risk of HAIs.
Medical exam tables are found in every type of healthcare setting, from hospitals to physical therapy and chiropractic facilities. They support supine, prone, or side-lying patients during exams and treatments. They are often patients’ first touchpoint with their healthcare provider and can influence their perception of the quality of healthcare they receive.
There are many different types of medical exam tables, including ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant options, multi-use imaging tables, and specialty bariatric exam tables for obese or elderly patients. However, the most common are electric exam tables with powered seats and back and foot features that allow practitioners to quickly and easily adjust them for each client.
Regardless of the type of exam table, you need to choose the right one for your unique healthcare environment. If you work in a high-volume environment where you see many clients, an electric treatment table with powered back, foot, and tilt adjustments is ideal. It saves time and effort and is more reliable and durable than manually adjustable models.
Likewise, you will want to invest in a portable model that can be easily moved on a daily basis for cleaning. This will prevent fluids from pooling underneath the table and posing a health risk to subsequent patients and protect the flooring in your facility. Fortunately, there are a number of portable treatment tables available with easy-to-use wheels that make it simple and convenient to move your healthcare equipment for daily cleanings.