HealthcarePapers 9(3) July 2009 : 38-43.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2009.20925

Environmental Cleaning and Healthcare-Associated Infections

Irene Jansen and Janice Murphy


The authors of "Healthcare-Associated Infections as Patient Safety Indicators" correctly identify healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) as a growing problem with severe consequences. In contrast to most literature, their article acknowledges the importance of environmental cleaning. The paper presents credible reasons why HAIs are treated as lesser threats than other adverse events. It also appropriately emphasizes prevention and calls for multiple interventions, including reducing occupancy rates.

This commentary provides additional evidence of the critical role of environmental cleaning and posits that the devaluation of cleaning and other support services lies at the heart of governments' and administrators' inadequate response to HAIs. Staff cuts and contracting out are both a motivating factor and a consequence of this devaluation. The commentary concludes with recommendations.



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