Importance of Cleaning
By: Jessica Klamut and Lauren Cherney
There has never been a time more relevant to talk about cleaning adapted equipment. It is something that is done season to season to ensure equipment is always ready to be used. As we navigate this time surrounding COVID-19, we find ourselves discussing cleaning protocols in every conversation within our workplace and how to keep our participants safe, while still providing the opportunities at hand. Now that we must clean equipment after each use, it is important to make sure we follow the correct guidelines to kill any harmful germs and bacteria, while at the same time, not damage the equipment. We have consulted with many organizations and professions within our field of Adaptive Sports and Recreation on the best practices related to disinfecting and cleaning different surfaces of adaptive equipment.
To start, it is good idea to look at all your equipment and identify high touch areas. Many areas are touched during a transfer from an assistive device to a piece of equipment. Some areas of contact are more noticeable than others. High touch areas may include the cushion, chair frame, footplate, tires, hand rims, etc. In addition to noticeable areas, you want to be mindful of the areas you do not typically think are being touched. These areas may include, but are not limited to, back post, bike cables, etc.
There is a wide variety of adaptive equipment out there but for the most part the equipment is made from similar materials. Common adaptive equipment might include sports chairs designed for wheelchair basketball rugby, tennis, etc. handcycles, recumbent bikes, racing chair, throwing chair, power soccer chairs, active hands, core wraps, and/or ace bandages. Sport specific equipment will also need to be cleaned. This includes, but is not limited to, basketball balls, footballs, tennis balls, helmets, bike flags, field throwing implements. When you look at the different pieces of equipment you use, the surfaces that need to be cleaned are metal surfaces, rubber, and different types of upholstery: porous, mesh, Velcro. We are going to breakdown these different surfaces and talk about the cleaning procedures we have adopted here at Lakeshore based off the CDC suggestions, along with recommendations from professionals within sport specific fields. In addition to the cleaning products and protocols we use, you can find approved cleaning products on the EPA and CDC website. It is important to read over the cleaning protocols as they vary per product – kill time and necessary PPE equipment are just a few examples. If your program does not have access to an EPA or CDC approved cleaning product it is highly recommended to still clean your adaptive equipment after each use with soap and warm water.
EPA website: EPA Recommended Disinfectants to Use Against COVID-19
CDC website: CDC Guideslines for Cleaning and Disinfecting