By China Assistive Devices and Technology Center for Persons with Disabilities

With the increase in the elderly population and the number of persons with disabilities, there is a growing demand for assistive devices. Appropriate disinfection of assistive devices is an important measure for epidemic prevention and control.

To cope with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, we can use the chlorine-based disinfectant and the 75% alcohol which are easy to obtain and relatively safe to disinfect assistive devices.

In the first place, we  should read the instructions to  make clear of  the range and method of application, expiration date and storage method of the disinfectant, and try to avoid mixing different disinfectants. The chlorine-based disinfectant should be used immediately after being made ready; electricity and fire should be kept away when using alcohol for disinfection. Wipe or wash the surface of the objects to remove disinfectant residual after disinfection has taken effect. In the process of disinfection, the staff should ensure proper personal protection.

The frequency of preventive disinfection should be based on the locality’s risk level related to the epidemic and the frequency of using assistive devices.

I.  Disinfection at Home

1.  Preventative disinfection:

Heat and humidity-resistant assistive devices such as cushions and bent handle spoons can be disinfected by circulating steam or boiling for 30 minutes. If discoloration and corrosion are not a consideration, chlorine-based disinfectants can be used. It is not the case that the higher the concentration of chlorine is, the more effective the disinfectant will be. Excessive disinfection is not only harmful to human health, but will also cause water, air and soil pollution. The proportion between chlorine and water, and wiping or soaking time shall be determined according to the instructions on using the chlorine- based disinfectant, and then the disinfectant residual shall be wiped or washed away with clean water. When using alcohol-based disinfectant, we should wipe or spray the surface with alcohol for 3 minutes, and do the disinfection twice. For sphygmomanometers, thermometers and other personal medical aids, it is recommended to use alcohol for disinfection; for other assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, crutches, bath chairs, commode chairs and hoists, chlorine-based disinfectants or alcohol can be used for disinfection. If conditions permit, ultraviolet disinfection can also be used, but direct exposure of human body to ultraviolet light shall be avoided, and the assistive devices shall be placed within proper range.

2.  Terminal disinfection:

Terminal disinfection is thorough disinfection of the place upon the departure of the confirmed cases and asymptomatic patients. When there is no visible pollutant, the devices can be disinfected by circulating steam or boiling for at least 30 minutes. If discoloration and corrosion are not a consideration, the devices can be soaked with the disinfectant with a concentration of 1,000 mg/L of effective chlorine for 30 minutes and then be cleaned as usual.

When there is a small quantity of pollutants on the surface of assistive devices, use disposable water absorbing material to dip the disinfectant with a  concentration of 5,000-10,000mg/L  of effective chlorine to remove the pollutants carefully; when there is a large quantity of pollutants on the surface, use disposable absorbing material to cover the surface completely and then spray the disinfectant with a concentration of 5,000-10,000mg/L of effective chlorine on the water absorbing material, keep it there for more than 30 minutes, and then remove it carefully. After that, we should wipe or spray the disinfectant with a concentration of 1,000mg/L of effective chlorine onto the surface of contaminated assistive devices for disinfection for at least 30 minutes.

The cleaning cloth and disposable absorbing materials used in the disinfection process shall be put into the waste bag to be tied tightly.

We should wash hands and change personal protective materials immediately after the disinfection.

II.  Disinfection at Facilities

1.  Preventive disinfection:

Before returning to work, the surface of exposed assistive devices and outer packages should be disinfected as required. Heat and humidity-resistant assistive devices can be disinfected by circulating steam or boiling for 30 minutes. If corrosion of assistive devices is  a consideration, alcohol disinfectant is recommended; when the surface of assistive devices  is large, chlorine-based disinfectant is recommended. If possible, ultraviolet disinfection  can be used.

After disinfection, the assistive devices can be covered with one-off transparent plastic cloth or other things to prevent contact or penetration of  droplets, and then the cover can  be disinfected with chlorine-based disinfectant or replaced with another one-off cover regularly to prevent the damage of the assistive devices by disinfectant.

2.  Terminal disinfection:

The terminal disinfection at facilities is done in the same way as at home.

About the disinfection, a detailed record should be kept, with the information including but not limited to the name of the disinfectant, concentration of disinfectant, disinfection time and disinfection personnel, etc.