Cleaning Times for Hospitals – ISSA

12/23/16 By Dana Szymkowiak

Back in 2009 there was a study that came about that investigated what the best practices were in healthcare settings for cleaning and disinfecting. This study was started by The Canadian Association of Environmental Management in conjunction with Queens University.

This project evolved from the Canadian Hospital Service Study. Which surveyed those in the healthcare field and found very interesting results.  Here are a few bullet points from this study:

  • More than half of Environmental Service Managers didn’t think that they had the staff to clean hospitals to standards..
  • Less than 40% of hospitals were cleaned sufficiently for infection prevention and infection control purposes.
  • Only about a third of survey respondents conduct frequent cleaning audits of medical and surgical rooms.
  • There seems to be a general lack of knowledge in the time actually needed to clean a room and perform cleaning tasks.

Thanks to these results the Provisional Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PICDAC) raised the question “Do we have the resources and environmental services to clean based on best practices and do we have the time that is needed?” Before this survey was conducted it seems that hospital staff cleaned at their own pace. But there were really no set recommendations that you must spend “x” amount of time cleaning a room.

There were some benchmarks found for cleaning times from the CDC (25-30 minutes) and ISSA (12-22 minutes) but these benchmarks lacked defining criteria. They were missing things such as what is the size of the room that is being cleaned? What is the type of room being cleaned? And other criteria as well. 

Based off of the areas of information that are lacking and to determine new benchmarks there is a phase 2 of this study occurring as we speak. The new study will determine benchmarks for the following:

  • Terminal Room Cleaning
  • Daily Routine Cleaning
  • Private & Semi-Private Rooms
  • With and Without Isolation Precautions

There were some initial results from phase 2 of the study; but it was found that these results were not accurate. There are several factors that can delay the cleaning time of the room, like an interruption, which would throw off numbers. There are also inconsistent cleaning practices that can shorten times that were reported. 

Phase 2 will consist of another round of surveys and include data from acute care facilities, mental health facilities, hospitals, long term care, and complex care facilities.

The below video from ISSA TV is an incredible resource that goes in depth on many of the points above. Feel free to watch and also look for updates on phase 2 of this ongoing project.