Better hospital cleaning top priority for fighting superbugs: Expert

‘If I had to put my finger on one thing that would have an impact on healthcare infection it is cleaning,’ says Scottish expert  microbiologist Dr Stephanie Dancer. ‘Comprehensive, targeted cleaning at the high-risk sites around the patient.’
Commenting on the fads that wash over hospital infection control, Dr. Dancer  says the real problem with hospital infections is not long sleeves, long hair or white coats — it’s a lack of regular, thorough cleaning of all ‘touch sites’. 

Door handles, drip stands, bedheads and curtains round beds, if not regularly cleaned, become a source of infection — even to clean hands. 

Dr Dancer did a trial comparing two wards, one cleaned normally, and one with thorough cleaning of all these bedside objects included.  On the better cleaned ward, the rate of new infection with MRSA dropped by more than a quarter.

Unfortunately, as cleaning in hospitals is now often franchised out to for-profit companies in Britain, ward sisters do not usually have control over what cleaners do and don’t do. 

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