Environmental Infection Prevention: Priorities of Patient Safety Collaboration

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Although progress has been made in decreasing health care–associated infections (HAI) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, there has been an increase in HAI caused by drug-resistant pathogens, particularly those that contaminate the environment such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Pseudomonas spp, Acinetobacter spp, and Clostridium difficile. The ICU environment including sinks and medical equipment has been identified as being at risk for contamination and associated with cross-transmission of pathogens between the health care provider, the environment, and the patient. This article addresses the role of the ICU nurse as a team facilitator collaborating with environmental services, infection preventionists, and others to influence ICU design during preconstruction planning and unit environmental hygiene after construction to promote patient safety and prevent HAI associated with contaminated environments and equipment.

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