Which Areas of a Surgical Unit Have the Most Bacteria?

The areas of a hospital room that have the most pathogens differ depending on the type of room, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers sampled 123 sites for pathogens in an intensive care unit and gastrointestinal surgical ward of a London teaching hospital over four months. In both types of rooms, surfaces closest to the patient were the most contaminated. Surfaces associated with the bed, such as side rails, bed control and call buttons, were particularly contaminated, according to the study.

Besides this commonality, areas of high bacteria differed between the ICU and GI ward. In the ICU, bacteria levels were greatest on surfaces that healthcare workers regularly touched, such as telephones and computer keyboards. In the GI ward, surfaces that were primarily touched by patients, such as their toilet and shower facilities, had the most bacteria.  

The authors suggested adjusting cleaning protocols depending on the type of hospital ward.

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