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Study for CDC reveals patient room "cleanliness" truths

Why is proper cleaning so essential? Dr. Keith Woeltje from the Washington University School of Medicine discussed this issue in a presentation for the CDC on “The Role of the Environment”. He shared that in one study, only 24% of hospitals tested using ATP bioluminescence were actually clean even though 82% looked like they were. Another study found that only 50% of hospitals were cleaning high-touch surfaces in a way that effectively removed pathogens. He concluded that “just because things aren’t grossly soiled, doesn’t mean they are not harboring pathogens.”

Dr. Woeltje went on to emphasize the seriousness of this issue by citing a series of studies that demonstrate the practical implications of this kind of negligence. These studies showed that if the previous occupant of a room had a healthcare associated infection (HAI), the next occupant of that room was on average 120% more likely to contract that same illness. Specifically, if the previous patient had MRSA, the next patient is 50% more likely to get it. With VRE, C. diff, and Acinetobacter these rates were 170%, 100%, and 300% respectively. Grim statistics indeed.


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