Environmental cleaning resources and activities in Canadian acute care hospitals

Am J Infect Control. 2014 May;42(5):490-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2014.01.013.


Background: Environmental cleaning interventions have increased cleaning effectiveness and reduced antibiotic-resistant organisms in hospitals. This study examined cleaning in Canadian acute care hospitals with the goal of developing strategies to improve cleaning and reduce antibiotic-resistant organism rates.

Methods: Managers most responsible for environmental services (EVS) completed an extensive online survey that assessed EVS resources and cleaning practices.

Results: The response rate was 50.5%; 96 surveys were completed, representing 103 of 204 hospitals. Whereas 86.3% (82/95) of managers responsible for EVS reported their staff was adequately trained and 76.0% (73/96) that supplies and equipment budgets were sufficient, only 46.9% (45/96) reported that EVS had enough personnel to satisfactorily clean their hospital. A substantial minority (36.8%, 35/95) of EVS departments did not audit the cleaning of medical surgical patient rooms on at least a monthly basis. Cleaning audits of medical surgical patient rooms frequently included environmental marking methods in only one third (33.3%, 31/93) of hospitals and frequently included the measurement of residual bioburden in only 13.8% (13/94).

Conclusion: There was a general need for increased and improved auditing of environmental cleaning in Canadian hospitals, and there were perceived EVS staffing deficits in the majority of hospitals.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile; Environmental services; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Health Services Research*
  • Hospitals
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Intensive Care Units*