The contribution of beds to healthcare-associated infection: the importance of adequate decontamination.

Research paper by E E Creamer, H H Humphreys

Indexed on: 22 Mar '08Published on: 22 Mar '08Published in: Journal of Hospital Infection


The hospital bed is comprised of different components, which pose a potential risk of infection for the patient if not adequately decontaminated. In the literature there are a number of descriptions of outbreaks or experimental investigations involving meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, Acinetobacter spp., and other pathogens. Often only the bedrail has been sampled during investigation of outbreaks, rather than more important potential reservoirs of infection, such as mattresses and pillows, which are in direct contact with patients. It is essential that these items and other bed components are adequately decontaminated to minimise the risk of cross-infection, but detailed advice on this aspect is often lacking in reports and official documents. Clear guidelines should be formulated, specifying the decontamination procedure for each component of the bed. In outbreaks, investigation should include an assessment of mattresses and pillow contamination as a critical aspect in outbreak management.