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Hospital Room Cleanliness is Highly Under-Researched

Hospital cleaning has not been properly studied in regards to patient outcome.

A major issue, affecting patients, doctors and the health care system is vastly overlooked, considering hospital room cleanliness is highly under-researched and infections can spread without a proper solution. There is no vast study on the proper procedures of keeping a hospital room as hygienic as possible, though of course, all practice their own methods.

However, it’s often a place where a sickly patient might linger in a state of vulnerability, weakness and, in some cases, when their immune system is compromised to bacterial infections. In spite of it, there is a staggeringly low number of studies on the subject and no official guidelines on what product or manner is best for maintaining a good state of cleanliness in hospital rooms.

The study led by Craig A. Umsched, MD, and Jennifer Han, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania has uncovered that there is very little evidence to support one product, method or precaution over the other when regarding the general hygiene of a patient’s hospital room, which might deem them vulnerable to diseases even surrounded by doctors and nurses.

Out of the 80 studies published between the years 1998 and 2014, over 65% were centered around before-and-after contamination of surfaces within a room, focusing primarily on bacterial counts and colonies, and only 35% focused on the outcome upon the patient’s health and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), in spite of worrying numbers.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 721,000 HAIs are reported every year, following in 75,000 deaths due to unhygienic and neglected surfaces of hospital rooms that allowed for contamination. Most studies focused on the floor and possible ways to make sure it’s clean to the smallest speck of dust eradicated, but counters, trays, bed bars, IVs, chairs and everything else is also a possible home to a bacterial colony.

A worrying 1 in 25 hospital patients have been reported to contract an infection while still in the hospital.

The study has discovered that Clostridium difficile (C. difficile, or C. “diff”) is the most common cause of HAIs, which is a worryingly frequent bacteria contracted by patients on antibiotics. In 2011, C. difficile caused nearly 500,000 infections only in the United States.

It is one of the leading causes of hospital infections along with MRSA and VRE, but only 6% of the 3,000 hospitals examined had proper means of controlling rates of infections.

The issue is blamed less on the quality of the studies and more on the ill-targeted subjects and parameters, as previous research has delved into specific products and general decontamination of hospital rooms, instead of assessing what should be the main purpose of HAIs rates upon patients.

Future investigations have been stated to need establishing definitive, concrete and beneficial benchmarks for cleanliness that are centered around the patient, by using appropriate products that have been proven to drop the rate of hospital-acquired infections. Otherwise, it cannot be discounted why families panic and or question the growing number of lawsuits.

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