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What is best practice for ensuring staff is properly disinfecting mobile medical equipment?

Mobile equipment used in healthcare – Workstations on Wheels (WOWs), wheelchairs, IV poles, and other shared medical devices – are hard, non-porous surfaces that can become potentially contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms.[1] These can also be frequently overlooked when it comes to environmental surface disinfection. For example, a 2009 study of computer stations on wheels revealed that daily cleaning of the keyboard was at zero percent over a baseline evaluation period of several weeks.[2] This means that daily cleaning of keyboards in accordance with the established policy was not occurring.

Best practices support the need for high touch surfaces and patient care items, including mobile equipment, to be disinfected between each patient use. Greater accessibility, usability and convenience of surface disinfection products will help increase compliance. For portable equipment, point of care product placement is particularly important. Ideally, products should be placed on or affixed to the equipment maintaining ease of access. Staff education that clearly defines roles and responsibilities and periodic monitoring should also be conducted.

[1] Sehulster  LM, , et al. Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-care Facilities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.

[2] Po,Insert Author First Initial  et al. “Dangerous cows: an analysis of disinfection cleaning of computer keyboards.” Am J Infect Control. 2009 Nov; 37(9):778-80.