Surface disinfection in the Swiss healthcare system

As last year, Novapura has again conducted a survey in Swiss healthcare facilities. Title of this year's survey: How are surface disinfections performed in the Swiss healthcare sector?

Novapura 2

The number of contaminations is still significant in almost all institutions, especially when considering cases of multidrug-resistant bacteria in isolation.

The main areas contaminated were patient rooms and quarantine rooms, and to a lesser extent the emergency room. Scrub/wipe disinfection is still the method of first choice when it comes to decontaminating these rooms. In a few cases, other methods are used, such as fogging. For the most part, internal, trained personnel are assigned to this work, despite staff shortages. The latter is apparently not given much attention by the institute’s management. According to the responses received, however, no work is being done to increase efficiency through automation or outsourcing.

Decontamination is documented and controlled in only 25% of the institutions.

In your opinion, which areas are critical with regard to cross-contamination?

Patient rooms and the emergency room are the main areas mentioned in response to this question. The ward kitchen and the clothing of the staff are also mentioned. These statements are most likely not supported by measurement results.

Special attention is given to high touch surfaces (door handles, handrails, handles, buttons, knobs, etc.) for surface disinfection. Indoor air (probably from the pandemic period) is also included in the statistics. For high touch surfaces, scrub/wipe disinfection is the method of choice. These surfaces are disinfected up to 3 times per day; there are institutions that disinfect less than once per day.

Would you have confidence in coatings with permanent self-disinfecting properties for High Touch Areas?

50% of the answers are negative, the other 1/3 see a benefit (closing the disinfection gap, support for regular disinfection).

What additional, simple measures could be used to further curb cross-contamination?

Here, the good old hand disinfection is mentioned as the main thing.


Methods: Still, analogous to last year’s survey, scrub/wipe disinfection is the most commonly used method for surface disinfection. Contaminations with multiresistant bacteria, resp. SARS-Cov/Noro occur more frequently. New technologies, such as fogging processes, UV robots, and self-disinfecting coatings are not very widespread, are met with a certain degree of skepticism, or are completely unknown. The lack of personnel is seen as a major problem, which is apparently not being tackled vigorously enough, if at all.

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