Disclosing Agent Determines If Operating Rooms Are Clean

Results show that only 25 percent of tested surfaces in operating rooms were cleaned

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of an environmentally stable disclosing agent allows hospital staff to determine if an operating room (OR) has been cleaned and reveals that many surfaces are not cleaned, according to a study published in the March issue of the AORN Journal.

Julie Jefferson, M.P.H., R.N., from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and colleagues investigated whether a transparent, removable, environmentally stable disclosing agent, together with a handheld ultraviolet light, could be used to identify whether potentially contaminated surfaces had been cleaned by a wet disinfection cloth during cleaning of ORs. The presence of the disclosing agent indicated that the surface had not been cleaned. They evaluated 71 implantation ORs from six acute care hospitals and specifically focused on how thoroughly 10 standardized objects were cleaned.

The researchers found that 237 of the 946 targeted surfaces (25 percent) had the disclosing agent removed. There was a wide variation in the thoroughness of cleaning between hospitals, ranging from 9 to 50 percent. The variation in cleaning of the best-cleaned object (main OR doors) ranged from 0 to 72 percent, and the least well-cleaned object, the storage cabinet handle, varied from 0 percent to 17 percent.

"The objective documentation of opportunities for improvement related to OR environmental cleaning in the implantation ORs in the evaluated hospitals may suggest that suboptimal cleaning is a more widespread issue," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with Steris Corporation and Ecolab, medical supply companies.

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