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Outpatient Care Centers, Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) & Environmental Cleaning

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Published on Feb 12, 2014

Over the past several decades, Americans have witnessed a significant shift in healthcare delivery from the acute, inpatient hospital setting to a variety of ambulatory and community-based settings. This care is often provided in hospital-based outpatient clinics, nonhospital-based clinics and physician offices, ambulatory surgical centers, and many other specialized settings.

Infection prevention must be made a priority in any setting where healthcare is delivered to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. A key component to this is environmental cleaning.

Ambulatory care facilities should establish policies and procedures for routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. Cleaning refers to the removal of visible soil and organic contamination from a device or environmental surface. This process removes large numbers of microorganisms from surfaces and must always precede disinfection procedures.

Special attention during cleaning and disinfection should be placed on surfaces that are most likely to become contaminated with pathogens, including those in close proximity to the patient and frequently-touched surfaces in the patient-care environment. Facility policies and procedures should also address prompt and appropriate cleaning and decontamination of potentially infectious materials.

Responsibility for routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces should be assigned to appropriately trained healthcare personnel (HCP). Cleaning procedures should be periodically monitored or assessed to ensure that they are consistently and correctly performed. EPA-registered disinfectants, with label claims for use in healthcare, should be selected for disinfection.

These are just a few things to know about environmental cleaning and preventing healthcare-associated infections in outpatient care centers. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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