High-Touch Points in Hospital Rooms That Harbor Pathogenic Bacteria
Barley Chironda, RPN, CIC, discusses different high-touch surfaces in hospital rooms that are known to harbor pathogenic bacteria.
Barley Chironda, RPN, CIC, infection control specialist at Clorox Healthcare, discusses different high-touch surfaces in hospital rooms that are known to harbor pathogenic bacteria.
Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
“Mattresses were what was discussed yesterday at the 5th International C. diff Awareness Conference and Health Expo as one of the big things that we have to think about as far as transmitting infections.
What’s interesting is we know now, according to the work that has been done cumulatively over the last few years is that there are 17 areas that are deemed high-touch points; these are the areas that are seen as the places where somebody is most likely to touch if they are in a hospital room. Some of those include the bed, the side rail, the bedside table, and the light switches. When you look at all of these surfaces, any one of these can carry pathogenic bacteria. And so, at the end of the day, you need to make sure that these areas are wiped off.
In addition to that, there is equipment that is brought in all of the time into the patient rooms—stethoscopes, pens, and other equipment—all of these are opening the room up to vulnerability and it is very important that [be included as you disinfect the room]. But we miss these, right? We miss these, and there’s more and more equipment that is now coming into the room. For example, people are starting to bring smart devices, such as phones and tablets, and the recommendations for these is to clean with soap and water.
You end up having problematic situations where the harsh disinfectants that we have in the health care space cannot be used on some of these pieces of equipment. That’s something that really complicates the process a lot.”