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Hospital Beds a Source of Fungus

Stop outbreaks with thorough disinfection of patient rooms

June 27, 2019

Environmental services (EVS) staff’s dedication to cleaning and disinfecting beds is more important than ever as a recent study revealed how an emerging fungal pathogen is spread from patient to patient via hospital beds.

The fungus in the study, Candida auris, can cause large outbreaks in health care facilities. The pathogen is often multi-drug resistant and can cause serious infections in the bloodstream, wounds, ears, and other parts of the body. The fungus, which was first identified and described in 2009, can be present on a person’s skin without causing symptoms.

Researchers noted the amount of C. auris in samples collected from patients' skin and their rooms. They found that patients with very high concentrations of the fungus on their skin also had a high level of the pathogen on their bed. Researchers were able to culture live C. auris from the beds of all patients who tested positive for the fungus, even beds that were currently occupied by new patients.

EVS specialists with IEHA, a division of ISSA, demonstrated a hospital room turnover cleaning to eliminate germs from the previous room occupant. Steps for cleaning the bed include:

  • Use a fresh cloth with a germicide disinfectant to wipe down the bed pillow, then the top and bottom of the mattress.
  • Lift the mattress, then clean the top and bottom of the bed base.
  • Wipe down the entire bed, including the headboard, footboard, sides, bedrails, legs, and wheels. Remember to get all sides and refold the cloth with each new surface.

 

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