Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Annual Conference

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Annual Conference

Issue: July 2011
July 01, 2011
1 min read

Common procedure for cleaning hospital beds failed to eliminate bacteria

Issue: July 2011
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

BALTIMORE — Commonly used cleaning measures for disinfecting hospital bed mattresses and bed decks did not eliminate contamination of Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Micrococcus, and gram-negative rods in a single-community hospital, according to a presenter here.

“The current research fits into the growing body of evidence that the hospital environment is dirty; is not being cleaned well enough; and that this failure to clean the environment is leading to hospital-acquired infections and deaths,” Edmond A. Hooker, MD, DrPH,of the department of health services administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, said during a presentation. “Hospitals must stop ignoring the hospital environment as the source of hospital acquired infections.”

Edmond A. Hooker, MD, DrPH

Hooker and colleagues set out to determine the extent to which hospital mattresses and bed decks were being disinfected. “Data are generally lacking on the bacteriologic effects of commercial cleaning agents that are used to disinfect mattresses and bed decks,” they wrote in the study abstract.

Flexible film plates hydrated with 0.9 mL of buffered peptone water were used to assess bacteria on the surfaces of 39 hospital bed mattresses after being cleaned with a benzalkonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride solution.

Of the 39 mattresses sampled, 84.6% tested positive for bacteria. Colony-forming units (CFU) per 30 cm2 ranged from 1 to “too numerous to count” (mean 7.3 CFU)”, according to the researchers. In addition, 54.6% of the 39 bed decks sampled tested positive for bacteria, with a CFU per 30 cm2 that ranged from 1 to 550 (mean 24.2). Bacteria that were present included: Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Micrococcus and gram-negative rods.

“Hospital beds are dirty and cannot be cleaned adequately using current cleaning protocols,” Hooker said. “I would like to see the clinical trials of the launderable hospital cover in critical areas to prove it decreases hospital-acquired infections.” – by Ashley DeNyse

For more information:

  • Hooker EA. #2-14. Presented at: the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC) 38th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting; June 27-29, 2011; Baltimore.

Disclosure: Xavier University received a grant to support research from a private foundation that has an investor in Trinity Guardion, the manufacturer of the launderable mattress cover, serving as a trustee.

Twitter Follow on Twitter.