Hospital room floors may be an overlooked source of infection, according to a new study by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Items in hospital rooms often come in contact with the floor, so pathogens can quickly spread to hands and other high-touch surfaces, researchers found.
“Understanding gaps in infection prevention is critically important for institutions seeking to improve the quality of care offered to patients,” APIC President Linda Greene said in a press release. “Even though most facilities believe they are taking the proper precautions, this study points out the importance of ensuring cleanliness of the hospital environment and the need for education of both staff and patients on this issue.”
In the study, researchers cultured 318 floors from 159 patient rooms in five Cleveland-area hospitals.
Results showed that floors in patient rooms were contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), VRE and C. difficile.
Of 100 occupied rooms surveyed, 41 percent had one or more high-touch objects in contact with the floor, including personal items, medical devices and supplies.
“Although healthcare facility floors are often heavily contaminated, limited attention has been paid to disinfection of floors because they are not frequently touched. The results of our study suggest that floors in hospital rooms could be an underappreciated source for dissemination of pathogens and are an important area for additional research,” the researchers wrote in the study.
Read the study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
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