71% reduction in UTI rates and 100% in skin infection rates, 54% drop in hospital readmissions from nursing home.
The focus of nursing home infection control procedures has been on decreasing transmission between healthcare workers and residents. Less evidence is available regarding whether decontamination of high-touch environmental surfaces impacts infection rates or resident outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine if ultraviolet disinfection is associated with changes in: 1) microbial counts and adenosine triphosphate counts on hightouch surfaces; and 2) facility wide nursing home acquired infection rates, and infection-related hospitalization.
The study was conducted in one 160-bed long-term care facility. Following discharge of each resident, their room wa s cleaned and then disinfected using a newly acquired ultraviolet light disinfection device. Shared living spaces received weekly ultraviolet light disinfection. Thirty-six months of pretest infection and hospitalization data werecompared with 12 months of posttest data. Pre and posttest cultures were taken from high-touch surfaces, and luminometer readings of adenosine triphosphate were done. Nursing home acquired infection rates were analyzedrelative to hospital acquired infection rates using analysis of variance procedures. Wilcoxon signed rank tests, The Cochran’s Q, and Chi Square were also used.
There were statistically significant decreases in adenosine triphosphate readings on all high-touch surfaces after cleaning and disinfection. Culture results were positive for gram-positive cocci or rods on 33% (n = 30) of the 90 surfaces swabbed at baseline. After disinfectant cleaning, 6 of 90 samples (7.1%) tested positive for a gram-positivebacilli, and after ultraviolet disinfection 4 of the 90 samples (4.4%) were positive. There were significant decreases in nursing home acquired relative to hospital-acquired infection rates for the total infections (p = .004), urinary tractinfection rates (p = .014), respiratory system infection rates (p = .017) and for rates of infection of the skin and soft tissues (p = .014). Hospitalizations for infection decreased significantly, with a notable decrease in hospitalization for pneumonia (p = .006).
This study provides evidence that the pulsed-xenon ultraviolet disinfection device is superior to manual cleaning alone for decreasing microbes on environmental surfaces, as well as decreasing infection rates, and the rates of hospitalization for infection. Results suggest that placing a stronger emphasis on environmental surface disinfection in long-term care facilities may decrease nursing home acquired infections.