Hospital room cleaning checklist did not account for smaller items containing bacteria

Researchers from Chambersburg, Pa.-based Summit Health examined the effectiveness of a 175-item checklist its environmental services team used to complete terminal cleaning of hospital rooms in 2017.

The researchers presented their results at the 2018 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology annual conference in Minneapolis, June 13 to 15.

The terminal cleaning checklist had been used by the Summit Health environmental services team since 2012. The list included the dry-erase white boards in hospital rooms but did not include the markers or the erasers.

The researchers examined 55 cleaned patient rooms. They tested 39 markers and 52 erasers for the presence of adenosine triphosphate, an indicator of biological residues. All markers and all but two erasers tested positive for adenosine triphosphate.

"Although they are just small writing instruments, both the markers and erasers tested at 40 times the threshold," said Ericka Kalp, PhD, lead study author and director of epidemiology and infection prevention at Summit Health. "Because these are a main communication tool for nurses, cleaning them properly is of great significance to improving infection prevention."

Markers and erasers have now been added to the checklist.

More articles on healthcare quality: 
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