Amid concerns that hospitals may be breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, researchers are concerned over the most effective cleaning strategies a health-care facility may adopt.
A recent report, however, shows that hospital rooms may not be as clean as we may think. Additionally, there are few studies focused on what methods of disinfection and sanitization may be best suited in a medical environment.
The recent study, which was published Tuesday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, revealed some disturbing facts on the disinfection of hard surfaces in patient rooms.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that one in 25 patients get a perfectly-preventable infection during their hospitalization. In only one year, those infections kill nearly 75,000 people and sicken 646,000 more.
Official recommendations underscore the importance of hand-washing when handling a patient or his or her assets. But hard-surface contamination can also be accounted for the high rate of care-related infections. Dangerous bacteria can hide on call buttons, floors, light switches, toilets, tray tables, in examination rooms and so on, researchers noted.
Past studies had shown that about half of the surfaces are properly cleaned by hospital staffers.
During this latest study, researchers sifted through data from 80 studies conducted in the last 16 years. Of those studies, only five found the best methods to clean hard-surfaces. Those studies compared level of harmful bacteria on the surface before and after disinfection.
Additionally, most revised studies focused on a unique cleaning product or technique and failed to compare them against others. Plus, only up to 35 percent of studies mentioned the infection rates caused by germs in patient rooms.
Several studies revealed that C. difficile infection rates significantly dropped after hospital staffers started using bleach-based cleaning solutions. About 20 studies showed that cleaning methods employing UV rays or peroxide were more effective in lowering hospital-related infection rates.
On the other hand study author acknowledged that such studies are very hard to perform since health-care facilities are “busy and chaotic places” where people go in different rooms and make contact with all types of surfaces, which is very hard to control.
The recent research also found that hospital staffers take manufacturer recommendations for granted when employing a cleaning product. Plus, cleaning personnel is more concerned over whether a cleaning product would leave a stain or discolor a surface rather than whether it would properly disinfect that surface, researchers noted.
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