School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Dorothy Murphy


Environmental Hygiene, High-touch Surface Cleaning, Reducing Hospital Acquired Infections


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing


Environmental hygiene is fundamental in preventing the transmission of pathogens that can cause health care-associated infections (HAIs). Inanimate surfaces within the patient’s environment are defined as high-touch surfaces and include areas such as bedrails, tray tables, call lights, telephones, any equipment that is attached to the patient, and the computer on wheels. HAIs develop during hospitalization and occur within 48 to 72 hours of admission or within 10 days after hospital discharge (CDC, 2014; Collins, 2008). HAIs increase the morbidity, mortality, and hospital expenditures; and critically ill patients are at greater risk for HAIs because of their compromised immune systems, prolonged indwelling medical devices, multiple invasive procedures, and antibiotic use (CDC, 2014; Collins, 2008). A 26-bed cardiac intensive care unit implemented a high-touch surface cleaning protocol in order to decrease HAI rates and improve overall environmental hygiene within the patient’s immediate surroundings. The pre- and post-survey results determined that the protocol was easily implemented into daily practice and the intervention improved environmental hygiene within the patient’s immediate environment.

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