The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2895-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
While research has demonstrated the importance of a clean health care environment, there is a lack of research on the role portable medical equipment (PME) play in the transmission cycle of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). This study investigated the patterns and sequence of contact events among health care workers, patients, surfaces, and medical equipment in a hospital environment.
Research staff observed patient care events over six different 24 h periods on six different hospital units. Each encounter was recorded as a sequence of events and analyzed using sequence analysis and visually represented by network plots. In addition, a point prevalence microbial sample was taken from the computer on wheels (COW).
The most touched items during patient care was the individual patient (850), bedrail (375), bed-surface (302), and bed side Table (223). Three of the top ten most common subsequences included touching PME and the patient: computer on wheels ➔ patient (62 of 274 total sequences, 22.6%, contained this sequence), patient ➔ COW (20.4%), and patient ➔ IV pump (16.1%). The network plots revealed large interconnectedness among objects in the room, the patient, PME, and the healthcare worker.
Our results demonstrated that PME such as COW and IV pump were two of the most highly-touched items during patient care. Even with proper hand sanitization and personal protective equipment, this sequence analysis reveals the potential for contamination from the patient and environment, to a vector such as portable medical equipment, and ultimately to another patient in the hospital.
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- Interaction of healthcare worker hands and portable medical equipment: a sequence analysis to show potential transmission opportunities
Frank C. Villamaria
John D. Coppin
Charles R. Dale
Marjory D. Williams
- BioMed Central
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