The role of the health care environment and its contribution to acquisition and transfer of microorganisms that cause infection and illness in both patients and healthcare workers is not by any means straightforward. Historically the focus was considered less critical for surface contaminants but several factors are now monitored and considered environmental controls. The transition is in context of its role in 1) acquisition and transfer of microbial populations, 2) relationship to the risk of infection and illness in both patient and health care worker populations, 3) recently published scientific evidence related to transmission of microbes from environmental surfaces including textiles, 4) laundering practices and procedure of textiles and uniforms, and 5) new technologies and programs that can address reducing risk association with contaminated environmental surfaces.
[Photo: Dr. Julie Reagan]
“The Changing Role of the Healthcare Environment,” was published in Clinical Laboratory Science was published on January 1 as a fourth and final article in a FOCUS series about healthcare-associated infections.
Dr. Amber Hogan Mitchell of the International Safety Center in Apopka, Florida was the lead author and Dr. Julie Reagan, assistant professor of health policy and management at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University was one of the co-authors.