US 20070256753 A1
Stethiclean is an apparatus for cleansing the stethoscope head on the stethoscope. The stethoscope is the most widely used piece of medical equipment in patient care settings and performs a variety of functions necessary to caring for patients. The cleansing apparatus of the present invention includes a housing unit, bactericidal fluid chamber that communicates with a cleansing surface pad. The cleansing pad allows health care providers to disinfect the stethoscope head of microbes with one downward sliding movement.
1. A stethoscope cleansing apparatus comprising a wall mount housing unit, bactericidal fluid chamber, pump mechanism, with communication between fluid chamber, and surface cleansing pad.
2. An alternative stethoscope cleansing apparatus comprising a housing unit for pre-packaged cleansing pads, to be mounted on wall.
3. An alternative stethoscope cleansing apparatus comprising a portable cylindrical unit, tow piece units-pump mechanism, bactericidal fluid chamber, surface cleansing pores, communication between tow piece unit fluid chamber and surface pores, sliding cover lid, non-slip pads on base of bottom unit for stability.
Cross Reference to related application. This application claims priority to provisional patent 60686307 filed on Jun. 2, 2005.
The ‘Stethiclean’ was designed to impact morbidity and mortality rates related to nosocomial infections; otherwise known as hospital acquired infections. The product is designed to be strategically placed in patient care rooms for health care personnel to use after each patient contact. More specifically, Stethiclean is a device that will cleanse and eradicate microbes from the stethoscope head. The stethoscope is the most commonly used piece of medical equipment by nurses and physician's in daily patient care. It is imperative therefore that the stethoscope be cleansed between patient contacts which will reduce the incidence of infection and ultimately decrease the mortality rates in hospitalized patients.
Research has indicated that the stethoscope is a vector for many microbes and therefore a solution is needed to improve health care outcomes for hospitalized patients. Currently, there is no specific standard of care related to the cleansing of the stethoscope although the literature suggests that some action be taken by health care personnel to minimize the transfer of these microbes.
A recent study showed that 14 different microbes were isolated from the stethoscope head of health care providers in a hospital setting. One of the microbes found on culture, was MRSA, the often-fatal resistant strain of Staph Aureus. Therefore, this product has implications for use in any patient care delivery setting such as: outpatient clinics, nursing homes, home health, surgical centers, mobile care units, as well as hospitals.
Hospitals use disposable stethoscopes in patient rooms when the diagnosis warrants the patient be isolated due to infection. This is part of the standard of care for hospitalized patients with infections that can be transmitted to other in-patients. Because there is no standard of care for stethoscope head cleansing, this vector for infection remains a significant risk for patients.
There are reasons this health care risk has not been addressed thus far by the governing authorities such as the Joint Commission (JACHO) or by individual hospitals. The primary reason is cost and the secondary is that no reasonable solution has been offered. Stethiclean offers a practical, cost effective solution to this major health care problem.
The Stethiclean has one function with three potential designs. The primary function of the product is to eradicate microbes from the head of a stethoscope after any patient contact.
The basic design of the non-portable product is a wall-mounted apparatus with a housing unit for a fluid chamber with an adjacent encased convex shaped pad attached to the wall mount. The fluid chamber filled with bactericidal solution has a hose that is connected to the top of the housing unit, which has a button that can be depressed to allow solution to be delivered to the cleansing pad. The solution is delivered to the encased cleansing pad by pores on the lateral surface of the pad, which is attached to the hose-button system.
The system works when the health care personnel push the button on the top of the housing unit. The bactericidal solution is delivered via the pump action of the button-hose system, and then solution fills the encased cleansing pad on the surface of the housing unit. The health care worker then takes the head of the stethoscope, places the head at the top of the cleansing pad and moves the equipment in a downward motion. The combination of the pressure exerted on the cleansing pad and the bactericidal solution making contact with the stethoscope head eradicates existing microbes.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the housing unit would mount to the wall, with a three-sided rectangular structure on the wall mount. The top of the structure being open to receive a pre-packaged box of cleansing pads. Once placed into the structure and opened, the individual cleansing pads would be removed from the bottom of the structure. The pad would then be applied to the head of the stethoscope and wiped, and then discarded appropriately.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the apparatus would be portable. The housing apparatus would be cylindrical in shape and configured as a two-piece assembly. The upper one-third of the unit would house the solution chamber. The solution delivery design would be that of a pump action so that when the top of the cylinder was depressed, bactericidal solution would be delivered to the top of the apparatus, which would contain delivery pores. The top of the unit would have a lid that would slide laterally to uncover the delivery pores and then back to keep the unit clean and avoid spills. The unit would have non-slip pads on the bottom to help avoid spills when the unit is placed on a surface. The health care provider would use the apparatus with a cotton ball to soak up the bactericidal solution and then apply the cotton ball to the stethoscope head to cleanse in a circular motion and then discard appropriately.
1. wall mount 6. pump mechanism
2. wall mount screws 7. delivery pores
3. encasingunit 8. fluid chamber
4. button to pump fluid 9. fluid chamber refill port
5. hose 10. cleansing pad
1. wall mount
2. wall mount screws
3. housing unit
4. pre-packaged cleansing pads
5. cleansing pad
1. portable cylindrical housing unit
2. upper detachable unit
3. fluid chamber
4. fluid delivery hose
5. pump mechanism
6. non-slip pads
7. fluid delivery pores
8. sliding cover lid