Variation in hospital cleaning practice and process in Australian hospitals: a structured mapping exercise

Mitchell, Brett G., Farrington, Alison, Allen, Michelle, Gardner, Anne, Hall, Lisa, Barnett, Adrian G., Halton, Kate, Page, Katie, Dancer, Stephanie J., Riley, Thomas V., Gericke, Christian A., Paterson, David L., and Graves, Nicholas (2017) Variation in hospital cleaning practice and process in Australian hospitals: a structured mapping exercise. Infection, Disease and Health, 22 (4). pp. 195-202.

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Background: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the range of cleaning practices and processes in 11 Australian hospitals and to discuss the challenges this variation poses to the implementation of clinical trials or changes to hospital cleaning practices.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to determine cleaning practices and processes in hospitals participating in the 'Researching Effective Approaches to Cleaning in Hospitals' (REACH) study. A standardised template and approach was used to collect information. Data collection activities included structured on-site discussions, a review of hospital practices and a document review of policy and procedural documents related to cleaning.

Results: Variations in the auditing process used to evaluate environmental cleanliness, cleaning practices, product use, training and communication pathways available to cleaning staff were identified. There was also variation in workforce structure and responsibilities for cleaning.

Conclusion: This paper is the first to describe the differences in cleaning practices between Australian hospitals. The variations identified present a number of challenges for the conduct of research and have important implications for both monitoring of and standards for cleanliness. These challenges include implementing a practice change or cleaning study where hospitals have different processes, practices and structures.

Item ID: 53979
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2468-0451
Keywords: cross infection, environment, health services, hospital administration, hospitals, housekeeping, infection control, maintenance, translational research
Additional Information:

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Kimberley-Clark Professional, Ecolab Pty Ltd, Whiteley Corporation
Projects and Grants: NHMRC GNT1076006
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 23:42
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420306 Health care administration @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420311 Health systems @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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