Should antimicrobial curtains be cleaned in between patients?

After a hospital in Milwaukee, Wis., switched all of its curtains to an antimicrobial fabric, it changed policies to only clean or exchange curtains if they were visibly soiled. But that amendment may have been too hasty, according to a study submitted as a letter to the editor of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Physicians at the 650-bed hospital collected samples from 20 curtains in 10 patient rooms in the medical intensive care unit, located at the entry glass door and surrounding the commode. The curtains had been pretreated with a silane-based technology to help prevent bacterial growth.

Of the 20 samples, 95 percent showed bacterial growth. Gram-negative bacteria were present on 50 percent of the door curtains and 10 percent of the commode curtains.

"Like other objects in patient rooms, we believe that curtains should be thoroughly disinfected or exchanged in between patients or should be totally avoided," the letter reads. "The use of antimicrobial curtains should not preclude the disinfection of these surfaces upon terminal cleaning."

More articles on antimicrobials:
Scientists develop new MRSA treatment
Brazil reports first case of superbug resistant to last resort antibiotics
Joint Commission adds antimicrobial stewardship standard

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