Hospital Surface Disinfection: Challenges and Management


The healthcare setting is predisposed to harbor potential pathogens, which in turn can pose a great risk to patients. Routine cleaning of the patient environment is critical to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). It has been estimated that 30–40% of HAIs are caused by the contamination of healthcare worker hands. Hands are contaminated either from contact with infected or colonized patients, or with their environment. Many studies quoted by CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities suggested that, Noncritical environmental surfaces frequently touched by hand (e.g., bedside tables, bed rails) potentially could contribute to secondary transmission by contaminating hands of health-care workers or by contacting medical equipment that subsequently contacts patients. Selection of disinfection materials and the method of disinfection should be given very careful attention.

Although there are number of studies which may give us guidance on the type of disinfectant to be chosen for the various surfaces (EPA registered hard surface disinfection chart by NH department of education) and regarding the best quality of mop suitable for surface disinfection, very less literature has been noted so far contributing towards the method or exact procedure of disinfection in practical setting keeping in mind the infection control perspective.

Although ample amount of research can be seen on the type of disinfectants and mop to be used during hospital disinfection, very less focus has been given on the technique of hospital surface disinfection and its importance. The procedure demand attention right from the policy makers to the attendants who actually do the procedures. A common error varies with countries and hospitals. All we need is to recognize them, study the cause behind them and work on them. The step wise instructions on the technique and management of mops may help the hospital attendants who are not very educated and who actually are responsible for hospital surface disinfection in many hospitals.

The present article is a reality oriented approach to highlight the challenges observed during the hospital surface disinfection, the reasons related to that, and its management. An infection control nurse can identify the common errors in their respective hospital related to any procedure including disinfection process and can highlight the need for review through proper channel.


Rachle Green
Editorial Assistant
Journal of Hospital & Medical Management
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