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Contact Patterns during Cleaning of Vomitus: A Simulation Study

posted on 26.06.2018, 00:00 by Yu-Min Su, Linh Phan, Osayuwamen Edomwande, Rachel Weber, Susan C Bleasdale, Lisa M Brosseau, Charissa Fritzen-Pedicini, Monica Sikka, Rachael M Jones
Background. Environmental service workers cleaning bodily fluids may transfer pathogens through the environment and to themselves through contacts. Methods Participants with experience cleaning of hospital environments were asked to clean simulated vomitus using normal practices in a simulated patient room while being video recorded. Contacts with environmental surfaces and self were later observed. Results. In 21 experimental trials with seven participants, environmental surfaces were contacted 26.8 times per trial, at a frequency of 266 contacts per hour, on average. Self-contact occurred in 9 of 21 trials, and involved 1-18 contacts, mostly to the upper body. The recommended protocol of cleaning bodily fluids was followed by a minority of participants (2 of 7), and was associated with fewer surface contacts, improved cleaning quality, and different tool use. Participants used different cleaning practices, but each employed similar practices each time they performed an experimental trial. Conclusions. Training in the use of the recommended protocol may standardize cleaning practices and reduce the number of surface contacts.


This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epicenter Program through cooperative agreement U54CK000445), the UIC Epicenter for Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections.


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