Improper Disinfection Can Lead to HAIs

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Everyone agrees proper cleaning and disinfection help stop the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). But what about when disinfection inadvertently causes HAIs to spread?

Infection Control Today looks at what it calls an “overlooked” problem of health care workers using the wrong disinfection process/product on the wrong surface. With all the new advances in disinfectants and disinfecting technology, it can be challenging to keep up with which products/technologies are safe for specific surfaces. When surfaces are damaged due to improper disinfection, they become difficult to keep clean. The cracks, fissures, and pits provide microscopic reservoirs for pathogens to hide in and colonize.

Surface and product damage caused by surface disinfection incompatibility costs health care facilities millions of dollars each year in material and equipment replacement. The Healthcare Surfaces Institute and the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals recently conducted an analysis to determine the root causes of medical device damage. They found one large midwestern hospital, with 700 beds and over 1.2 million patient encounters yearly, suffered damage to several hundred medical device monitoring systems due to chemical exposure during the disinfection process.

The analysis determined not all health care facility personnel underwent training on proper cleaning and disinfection. Many facilities did not test or evaluate surfaces and equipment for cleanability before deciding to purchase them. In addition, it is not common for raw material manufacturers to test their materials for surface disinfection compatibility before selling them to manufacturers.

Analysis authors called for collaboration between health care personnel, raw material suppliers, device manufacturers and designers, and disinfectant manufacturers to develop a minimum standard for surface disinfectant compatibility that tests categories of disinfectants instead of proprietary products. They also called for medical device suppliers to provide maintenance training, including a review of cleaning and disinfection, to all users of their equipment or devices.

  This publication was sourced from Cleaning & Maintenance Management | Premier Cleaning Industry Resource (