Q. I’m a critical care nurse with a daughter who’s a transplant recipient. I know that hospital housekeeping departments do the best they can. Often, though, the cleaning staff don’t think to sanitize every surface patients and staff touch. This should definitely happen after one patient is discharged and another is admitted, but it doesn’t always.
When I’m at work, before any admission I am careful to thoroughly clean things like call lights, phones and monitor wires. I clean my shoes and stethoscope at the end of my shift and I don’t re-use my white jackets without laundering.
Of course, whenever my daughter is hospitalized, I am careful to clean her room too. We have had very good results over the years with this approach.
A. As you know, the immune systems of transplant recipients are suppressed to prevent rejection of the organ. As a result, they can’t fight off infections like healthy people do.
We appreciate your attention to potential contamination of hospital rooms. We spoke with Robert Muder, MD, about his successful infection control program at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He found that recruiting housekeeping staff to the team and reframing their job as preventing infections rather than just cleaning rooms really helped.