Disinfection in Ambulatory Care, Home Care, and the Home

With the advent of managed healthcare, increasing numbers of patients are now being cared for in ambulatory-care and home settings. Many patients in these settings might have communicable diseases, immunocompromising conditions, or invasive devices. Therefore, adequate disinfection in these settings is necessary to provide a safe patient environment. Because the ambulatory-care setting (i.e., outpatient facility) provides the same risk for infection as the hospital, the Spaulding classification scheme described in this guideline should be followed.

The home environment should be much safer than hospitals or ambulatory care. Epidemics should not be a problem, and cross-infection should be rare. The healthcare provider is responsible for providing the responsible family member information about infection-control procedures to follow in the home, including hand hygiene, proper cleaning and disinfection of equipment, and safe storage of cleaned and disinfected devices. Among the products recommended for home disinfection of reusable objects are bleach, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. APIC recommends that reusable objects (e.g., tracheostomy tubes) that touch mucous membranes be disinfected by immersion in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes or in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Additionally, a 1:50 dilution of 5.25%–6.15% sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) for 5 minutes should be effective. Noncritical items (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, crutches) can be cleaned with a detergent. Blood spills should be handled according to OSHA regulations as previously described (see section on OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard). In general, sterilization of critical items is not practical in homes but theoretically could be accomplished by chemical sterilants or boiling. Single-use disposable items can be used or reusable items sterilized in a hospital.

Some environmental groups advocate “environmentally safe” products as alternatives to commercial germicides in the home-care setting. These alternatives (e.g., ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Borax, liquid detergent) are not registered with EPA and should not be used for disinfecting because they are ineffective against S. aureus. Borax, baking soda, and detergents also are ineffective against Salmonella Typhi and E.coli; however, undiluted vinegar and ammonia are effective against S. Typhi and E.coli. Common commercial disinfectants designed for home use also are effective against selected antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Public concerns have been raised that the use of antimicrobials in the home can promote development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This issue is unresolved and needs to be considered further through scientific and clinical investigations. The public health benefits of using disinfectants in the home are unknown. However, some facts are known: many sites in the home kitchen and bathroom are microbially contaminated, use of hypochlorites markedly reduces bacteria, and good standards of hygiene (e.g., food hygiene, hand hygiene) can help reduce infections in the home. In addition, laboratory studies indicate that many commercially prepared household disinfectants are effective against common pathogens and can interrupt surface-to-human transmission of pathogens. The “targeted hygiene concept”—which means identifying situations and areas (e.g., food-preparation surfaces and bathroom) where risk exists for transmission of pathogens—may be a reasonable way to identify when disinfection might be appropriate.

Saturday, Nov 20, 2021


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008)

Please Check out file at the following link

Neutralization of Germicides

Inactivation of Clostridium difficile

Quaternary Ammonium Compound Disinfectants

Phenolic Disinfectants

Glutaraldehyde Disinfectant

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