Health care-associated infections (HAI) remain a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality, costing the US economy billions of dollars each year. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of these nosocomial infections have been attributed to cross infection via the hands of health care personnel. Contamination of the hands of health care workers could in turn result from either direct patient contact or indirectly from touching contaminated environmental surfaces.
Surface cleaning and disinfection is recognized as an important component of any infection prevention program, and it is critical in reducing the load of microorganisms on surfaces which are linked to cross contamination and HAIs. Determining the appropriate disinfectant requires balancing a number of factors including risk, efficacy of the product, patient and worker safety and comfort, surface and process compatibility, and overall cost. This paper is intended to provide the reader with information to put together a business case for improved cleaning and disinfection, including a review of the factors that impact disinfectant performance, an overview of the EPA registration process, and a recap of different disinfectant technologies. The paper will also provide tools to help decision makers with the selection of the ideal disinfectant, enabling them to balance what is most important in their facility.
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