Misuse of chemicals: A significant notable trend, beyond the headline of this story, is this finding: only 6% of those using quat chemicals to disinfect the mattresses of patients bothered to RINSE the mattresses (meaning they chose not to follow directions for use of the product AFTER using the product in an unapproved way!) to ensure any residue from the potentially harmful chemical was completely removed.
Research performed by students and faculty at Xavier University in Cincinnati reveals that current practices for cleaning of hospital beds involve the use of chemicals not approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on mattresses and that most hospitals do not follow recommendations for appropriate use of these chemicals. The research was presented June 4 at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Among the findings:
– 84 percent of hospitals use quaternary ammonia compounds to clean hospital beds. These chemicals have been tested on hard surfaces only, and do not have EPA approval for use of soft surfaces such as hospital mattresses.
– 23 percent of these hospitals cleaned the mattress surface prior to using the disinfectant, as is recommended by both the bed and chemical manufacturers.
– 6 percent of these hospitals rinsed off the chemical disinfectant after disinfection, as recommended by the bed manufacturers, possibly exposing patients to residual disinfectant.