A recent study found that over 90% of high-touch surfaces in Long Term Care facilities were contaminated with potential sources of infectious disease spread. (American Journal of Infection Control)
Handrails, equipment controls, and patient beds were 4 times more likely than other surfaces or locations to have high contamination levels. Is your facility meeting requirements for effective cleaning and disinfection as part of the Infection Prevention and Control Program?
In section §483.80 Infection Control of Appendix PP – State Operations Manual, CMS defines “Cleaning” as the removal of visible soil (e.g., organic and inorganic material) from objects and surfaces and is normally accomplished manually or mechanically using water with detergents or enzymatic products. “Disinfection” refers to thermal or chemical destruction of pathogenic and other types of microorganisms. Disinfection is less lethal than sterilization because it destroys most recognized pathogenic microorganisms but not necessarily all microbial forms (e.g., bacterial spores).
Pathogens can survive on environmental surfaces for long periods of time if proper cleaning and disinfection practices are not performed. Survival times of nosocomial pathogens on environmental surfaces can be up to 16 months.
A study cited in a March 2022 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control found that over 90% of high-touch surfaces in Long Term Care facilities were contaminated with fecal matter and other potential sources of infectious disease spread. Handrails, equipment controls, and patient beds were 4 times more likely than other surfaces or locations to have high levels of fecal matter.
When staff hands/gloves come in contact with contaminated surfaces, the pathogens can then be transferred to other surfaces and/or residents.
Role of the Infection Preventionist
The facility’s Infection Preventionist should use a risk-assessment approach to identify high-touch surfaces and then coordinate appropriate cleaning and disinfecting policies and schedules with the housekeeping staff. These policies should include:
- Product selection
- Proper use of the product
- Standardized process for cleaning/disinfecting
- Frequency of cleaning/disinfecting
The same should be done with resident equipment:
- Identify what are the high-touch surfaces/items
- Who cleans them
- Product to be used
- Storage and labeling
In addition to having policies in place, education on proper procedures for the use of the cleaning/disinfecting products should be provided, as well as routine monitoring for compliance. The CDC has a checklist available for monitoring terminal cleaning. The form lists sites most frequently contaminated and touched by patients and/or healthcare workers
Did you miss our live webinar on Cleaning & Disinfecting for the Infection Preventionist? Check out the recording in the Proactive Shop!