How clean is clean? The challenges of disinfecting porous and nonporous surfaces in healthcare environments

Meet the Speaker:

Linda Lybert
Healthcare Surfaces Expert
Healthcare Surface Consulting

IP Competency: Novice, Proficient

Duration: 60 minutes



Despite extensive education and controls in hand hygiene, patient isolation, and surface disinfection, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) HAIs are the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. Learn about potentially overlooked niche environments for pathogen survival and transmission and the challenges associated with cleaning a wide range of surfaces in the healthcare environment in this presentation. New information will be shared that evaluates disinfectant efficacy and compatibility with various surfaces to help you develop an evidence-based Approach for more effective cleaning protocols.

An estimated 20% to 40% of HAIs have been attributed to cross-contamination via the hands of healthcare personnel who have become contaminated either from direct contact with patients or indirectly by touching contaminated environmental surfaces. Numerous studies have shown that both soft and hard surfaces contribute to the harboring and transmission of pathogens throughout healthcare environments. Recently, studies have shown that pathogens readily travel from a single contaminated site to multiple surfaces throughout a facility in a cycle of continuous contamination and recontamination.

In one study, microbial tracers traveled from a contaminated nurse's station to 64% (25/39) of surfaces throughout the facility within four hours. Surfaces in the healthcare environment are constructed of mixed (porous and nonporous) textiles, requiring different infection control practices. Changes in surface integrity, caused by typical cleaning and disinfection practices, along with normal use, can create unseen niches for microbes to persist and be protected from contact with cleaning and disinfecting agents. Awareness of the complexity of surfaces in healthcare settings is increasing, and infection preventionists looking for best practices and guidance for reducing healthcare-associated infections and improving patient outcomes will benefit from this webinar.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand pathogen movement and persistence in healthcare environments 
  • Develop improved cleaning protocols for mixed textile environments 
  • Identify surfaces of increased concern for pathogen survival and transmission 

Group Site License: Registration includes one internet connection and one telephone connection at one location and an unlimited number of participants from your organization in one listening room.

Please note CE is not available for this program



Recorded 11/19/2015
Recorded 11/19/2015
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No credits available  |  Certificate available
No credits available  |  Certificate available