Physician Practice

From floor to patient: Pathogens on the ground don't stay there

Medical Environment Update, March 4, 2021

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by Brian Ward

After cleaning and sanitizing the floor in a patient room, how long before that floor becomes contaminated again? And how easy is the path of transmission for a floor-bound contaminant to a patient or staffer?

Quick and effortless are the answers.

According to a small study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, it only takes hours for a cleaned and sanitized hospital floor to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And the bacteria don’t end their journey there.

“If bacteria stayed on floors, this wouldn’t matter, but we’re seeing clear evidence that these organisms are transferred to patients, despite our current control efforts,” said Curtis Donskey, MD, senior author of the study and hospital epidemiologist at the Cleveland VA Medical Center, in a press release. “Hand hygiene is critical, but we need to develop practical approaches to reduce underappreciated sources of pathogens to protect patients.”

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