Hospital Floors a Common Source of Contamination

A 10-month study found MRSA and C. Diff in patients' rooms at a children's hospital

June 23, 2022

When cleaning hospital rooms, trained environmental services (EVS) staff know to focus on the floor as they often harbor germs that lead to health care-acquired infections 

According to a recent 10-month study performed by two researchers in a children’s hospital, both MRSA and C. difficile (C. diff)  were found on the floors, especially in patients’ rooms. Drs. Henry Spratt Jr. and David Levine, medical specialists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, recently showcased two posters based on their findings at the APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology) 2022 Annual Conference earlier this month.  

The two posters entitled “Bacterial Contamination of Floors in a Hematology/Oncology Unit in a Children’s Hospital” revealed research performed by the doctors in the general hospital hallways, patient rooms, chemo floor, and neonatal intensive care unit.  

As Levine shared, “When we look back at our data from the studies, we’ve known for a long time floors are a reservoir for a lot of different bacteria. Primarily, in this case, that’s what we’re looking at, and how difficult it is for any facility to really keep floors clean, especially in high-traffic areas. Without getting into super specifics of different bacteria, floors are really tough. There are all kinds of different interventions people have looked at, like antimicrobial floors, which are still kind of a new thing. We’re wondering how much they really help because of the traffic that people bring in and out. But maybe that’s a great intervention down the road.” 

The study discovered not only flaws in hygiene and bacteria prevention in these hospitals but also ways that worked for the hospital staff as well. In the neonatal ICU, the researchers discovered that methods being used to reduce ​​the dust that would be transported to the return air ducts were highly effective. This research only further solidifies the need for interprofessional collaboration and new cleaning protocols to reduce the risk of C. diff and MRSA on floors, counters, and hospital beds alike. With immunocompromised children at risk, it all comes down to the cleaning strategies and collaboration of the hospital staff for health and safety adherence.  

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