The importance of surface cleaning

GAMA Healthcare
Tuesday, 23 June, 2020

The importance of surface cleaning

A healthcare associated infection (HAI) is an infection occurring in a patient during the process of care in a hospital or other health care facility which was not present or incubating at the time of admission1. HAIs can be classed as a potentially preventable adverse event rather than an unpredictable complication and it is possible to significantly reduce the rate of HAIs through effective infection prevention and control2. Each year, there are approximately 165,000 HAIs reported within Australian acute healthcare facilities3. This makes HAIs the most common complication affecting patients within the hospital setting.

Pathogens can persist in the environment for days, weeks and months4 posing an ongoing risk for transmission and acquisition. Contaminated surfaces are an important route for viruses with pandemic potential5. We know that touchable surfaces in our environment can harbour harmful microorganisms6 including drug-resistant organisms7, cold & flu viruses8 and coronaviruses9-11. It’s more important than ever to clean and disinfect the right way. Well executed educational interventions can dramatically improve the frequency and quality of decontamination12,13. Improved environmental hygiene can reduce the number of people acquiring harmful microorganisms14.

In response to the current pandemic, healthcare facilities have introduced initiatives to raise awareness of the need to decontaminate surfaces regularly. It’s challenging to keep environmental hygiene top-of-mind when there are so many other commitments competing for time. That’s where these initiatives come in. Emergency staff from one UK hospital began making hourly announcements of ‘Clinell time’. Once an hour, the staff decontaminate their working areas. At the same time, other hospitals have started their ‘when you hear the bell, it’s time for Clinell’ campaign, with the shared goal of getting all the staff involved in environmental hygiene, making surfaces safer and protecting patients from HAIs.

Running your own initiatives

GAMA Healthcare Australia would like to support similar initiatives in your facility. We have “Clinell Time” packs available which include digital and printable resources to help you run a similar initiative within your organisation. We also have a limited number of Clinell Bells available. If you need any extra support or materials, please contact your GAMA Healthcare Sales Manager or email


  1. WHO. Clean Care is Safer Care 2020.
  2. NHMRC 2019 :10.
  3. Mitchell et al. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2017.07.001.
  4. Mitchell et al. J Hosp Infect.2015:91:211-217.
  5. Otter et al. J Hosp Infect. 2016;92(3):235-250.
  6. Otter et al Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2011;32(7):687-699.
  7. Weber et al. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013;26(4):338-344.
  8. Ikonen et al. BMC Infect Dis. 2018;18(1):1-7.
  9. Holbrook et al. New Eng J Med. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1210001
  10. Alfaraj et al. Am J Infect Control. 2018;46(2):165-168.
  11. Memish et al. Am J Infect Control. 2014;42(12):1266-1269.
  12. Reese et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019;40(7):798-800.
  13. Zimmerman et al. J Infect Prev. 2018;19(6):294-299.
  14. Garvey et al. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2018;7(1).
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