A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine investigated the cleanliness of hospitals by observing the cleaning methods used in those facilities.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine found that there is surprisingly little evidence that suggests the best methods used to disinfect hospital rooms.
In the study, the team looked through available research that was previously conducted. They wanted to know which methods were used to clean surfaces, how the cleaning was monitored, and what system-level factors were needed to successfully disinfect the hospitals.
The team looked at a total of 80 studies. Of those studies, 76 were primary studies, and four were systematic reviews. The majority of the studies focused on the before and after results of a single experiment, using a specific cleaning agent. Over 65% of studies focused on hospital surface contamination, while few focused on how the outcomes affected patients.
”We found that the research to date does provide a good overall picture of the before and after results of particular cleaning agents and approaches to monitoring cleanliness,” explains Dr. Jennifer Han, senior author and assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology. The study found that there are only a few studies that have concrete methods to evaluate the effectiveness of their cleaning routine.
“Researchers now need to take the next step and compare the various ways of cleaning those surfaces and monitoring their cleanliness in order to determine which are the most effective in driving down the rate of hospital-acquired infections.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 25 hospital patients contract health care associated infections, or HAIs, during their stay in the hospital. Bacteria can multiply by up to 31% daily of surfaces that are not regularly cleaned or disinfected. To prevent the spread of HAIs, hospitals need to follow a thorough cleaning regimen.
The researchers suggest that there is increased concern involving the cleaning and disinfection of hospital environments, and that further studies on the subject are needed in response to the current limitations, and to prevent the spread of HAIs.