Cleaning practices in patient rooms contribute to about 100,000 fatalities a year from hospital-acquired infections, according to a recent story by Drug Topics.
The piece, “Better cleaning of patient rooms can reduce hospital-acquired infections,” noted that, “The problem is that most hospitals take a hotel-like approach to cleaning patient rooms and other surfaces. Surfaces that appear to be dirty get cleaned, while surfaces that appear to be clean get only sporadic cleaning attention.
…Cleaning supervision is haphazard and usually based on visual inspection. Few institutions have implemented structured environmental cleaning program, and even fewer validate their cleaning processes,” wrote author Fred Gebhart, citing sources.
Healthcare facilities can increase successful surface cleaning to more than 80 percent by creating structured programs that include protocols, employee training, supervision, and regular testing and data collection.
Additionally, with more structured processes, healthcare facilities can also focus on regularly cleaning areas that are most likely to harbor bacteria and germs. For example, studies have indicated that the highest pathogen load in patient rooms is generally found on remote controls, patient pull cords, bed control panels, toilets and nearby walls, faucet handles and light switches.
To help improve hygiene programs and practices, healthcare facility managers should consider implementing technology such as touchless paper towel and soap dispensers that can help reduce cross-contamination and simplify hygiene practices, all while reducing the risk of transmission among patients and healthcare employees. Moreover, using disposable sanitizing wet wipes in place of towels when wiping down patient-rooms can be more hygienic since each wipe helps ensure that cross-contamination is avoided.