BackgroundAs frontline providers of care, nurses and midwives play a critical role in controlling infections such as COVID-19, influenza, multi-drug resistant organisms and health care associated infections. Improved cleaning can reduce the incidence of infection and is cost effective but relies on healthcare personnel to correctly apply cleaning measures. As nurses and midwives have the most contact with patients and as an important first step in improving compliance, this study sought to explore nurses' and midwives' knowledge on the role of the environment in infection prevention and control and identify challenges in maintaining clean patient environments.
MethodsCross-sectional online survey of 96 nurses (RN/EN) and midwives (RW) employed in clinical settings (e.g. hospital, aged care, medical centre, clinic) in Australia.
ResultsNurses and midwives broadly stated that they understood the importance of cleaning. However, cleaning responsibilities varied and there was confusion regarding the application of different disinfectants when cleaning after patients with a suspected or diagnosed infection post-discharge. Most would not be confident being placed in a room where a previous patient had a diagnosed infection such as multi-drug resistant organism.
ConclusionGreater organisational support and improving applied knowledge about infection control procedures is needed. This includes correct use of disinfectants, which disinfectant to use for various situations, and cleaning effectively following discharge of a patient with known infection. The cleanliness of shared medical equipment may also pose current risk due to lack of cleaning.