Hospital cleanliness has a number of implications for patients and staff in addition to simply preventing the spread of infection. Aside from infection, for patients and their families, a tidy and sanitary ward greatly improves comfort and provides assurance of the quality of their treatment. For staff, a hygienic environment means a more appealing workplace.
Throw in numerous studies demostrating and articulating links between the environment and infection [1-5], it’s easy to see why effective cleaning is of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining safe and quality hospital care. In light of this, it is difficult to believe that we have no uniformity across Australian hospitals when it comes to cleaning practices, staff training, products used or even standards by which to evaluate whether a hospital environment is clean and safe.
Variation in hospital cleaning practice and process in Australian hospitals: a structured mapping exercise  is the first paper to identify the variations in cleaning practices present among Australian hospitals. It describes in detail a range of discrepancies found in cleaning processes used across the country, in a study of 11 private and public hospitals.
This paper is the latest from The ‘Researching Effective Approaches to Cleaning in Hospitals’ (REACH). The REACH study uses a bundle of standardized interventions in an attempt to combat healthcare-associated infections, with a view of gathering evidence that could be used to inform better and more standardized cleaning methods in the future.
The variation in cleaning practice and processs highlighted in this paper, demonstrates the need for nationally recognised standards in hospital cleaning and outlines the challenges associated with the current system – or lack thereof.
- Dancer SJ. The role of environmental cleaning in the control of hospital-acquired infection. J. Hosp. Infect. 2009;73:378-385
- Mitchell BG, Dancer SJ, Anderson M, Dehn E. Risk of organism acquisition from prior room occupants: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J. Hosp. Infect. 2015;91:211-217.
- Hayden, M. K., Bonten, M. J., Blom, D. W., Lyle, E. A., van de Vijver, D. A., & Weinstein, R. A. (2006). Reduction in acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus after enforcement of routine environmental cleaning measures. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 42(11), 1552-1560.
- Donskey CJ. Does improving surface cleaning and disinfection reduce
health care-associated infections? Am J Infect Control. 2013;41(5):S12–9.
- Barker J, Vipond IB, Bloomfield SF. Effects of cleaning and
disinfection in reducing the spread of Norovirus contamination via
environmental surfaces. J Hosp Infect 2004; 58(1): 42–9. doi:10.1016/
- Mitchell, B. G., Farrington, A., Allen, M., Gardner, A., Hall, L., Barnett, A. G., . . . Graves, N. Variation in hospital cleaning practice and process in Australian hospitals: A structured mapping exercise. Infection, Disease & Health. doi:10.1016/j.idh.2017.08.001