Decreasing Operating Room Environmental Pathogen Contamination through Improved Cleaning Practice

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OBJECTIVEPotential transmission of organisms from the environment to patients is a concern, especially in enclosed settings, such as operating rooms, in which there are multiple and frequent contacts between patients, provider's hands, and environmental surfaces. Therefore, adequate disinfection of operating rooms is essential. We aimed to determine the change in both the thoroughness of environmental cleaning and the proportion of environmental surfaces within operating rooms from which pathogenic organisms were recovered.DESIGNProspective environmental study using feedback with UV markers and environmental cultures.SETTINGA 1,500-bed county teaching hospital.PARTICIPANTSEnvironmental service personnel, hospital administration, and medical and nursing leadershipRESULTSThe proportion of UV markers removed (cleaned) increased from 0.47 (284 of 600 markers; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42–0.53) at baseline to 0.82 (634 of 777 markers; 95% CI, 0.77–0.85) during the last month of observations (P < .0001). Nevertheless, the percentage of samples from which pathogenic organisms (gram-negative bacilli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus species) were recovered did not change throughout our study. Pathogens were identified on 16.6% of surfaces at baseline and 12.5% of surfaces during the follow-up period (P = .998). However, the percentage of surfaces from which gram-negative bacilli were recovered decreased from 10.7% at baseline to 2.3% during the follow-up period (P = .015).CONCLUSIONSFeedback using Gram staining of environmental cultures and UV markers was successful at improving the degree of cleaning in our operating rooms.

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