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Medical Workstation Cleaning Guide 2020

By Team Altus | Published Jan 30, 2020 | 10 MIN READ

While medical workstations are becoming increasingly important in healthcare delivery, they are at risk of becoming a vehicle for the transmission of infection between patients and staff.

In order to reduce the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), use this medical workstation cleaning guide from Altus to properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect your workstations, and ultimately prolong its life.

Despite anything you read below, remember that the manual is paramount. Refer to each product’s manual before you start cleaning.

Why Cleaning Your Medical Workstation is Important

Nearly 1.7 millionHAIs occur each in American hospitals. Approximately 5% of patients admitted to the hospital contract on HAI.

HAIs impact not only affect patients and their health outcomes, but they also affect clinicians and they are costly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HAIs account for $28-33 milliondollars in unnecessary costs each year.

Many studies have shown that pathogenic and nonpathogenic organisms can survive for prolonged periods of time on hospital surfaces and frequently used medical equipment, such as medical carts. The list below includes common human pathogens - bacteria that can cause disease:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Acinetobacter species
  • Noroviruses
  • E. coli
  • P. aeruginosa

For bacteria to spread, all it takes is on clinician who is in a hurry who touches a patient and then touches the computer without proper hand hygiene, who then passes the bacteria to the next clinician because they failed to clean the workstation in between use.

Medical workstation cleaning guidelines have been developed to help reduce the risk of transmission of HAIs.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting don’t all mean the same thing. In fact, it’s important to know the difference to ensure your medical workstation stays consistently clean.

Cleaning: Removing foreign matter that is visible to the naked eye such as dirt. Cleaning does not eliminate the presence of bacteria. Cleaning can be performed using manual processes such as wiping, brushing, flushing and soaking and adding water or detergent.

Sanitizing: Sanitizers are agents that destroy 99.999 percentof bacteria in 30 seconds, therefore reducing the occurrence and growth of bacteria. Sanitizing does not eliminate some spores and viruses.

Disinfecting: This uses hospital-grade disinfectants that destroy and eliminate spores and viruses within 10 minutes. In a hospital setting, it’s more important to kill all germs even if it takes longer.

Sanitizing and disinfecting is a step up from cleaning because you are doing more than just removing what is visible.

The Act of Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting is a three-step process.

  1. Perform hand hygiene.
  2. Clean – with a new wipe or cloth, use a rub or scrub motion to remove dust, soil, food, feces, blood, sputum or any other foreign matter. Immediately go to step 2.
  3. Disinfect – with a new wipe or cloth, use a rub or scrub motion. In order to fully disinfect, the object must be wet for one minute and then air-dried.

Use a new wipe in between cleaning and disinfecting, and when moving to another surface. Many studies have shown a failure to do so, allows bacteria to transfer to that surface and the hands of the person holding the wipe.

Best Practices to Keep your Medical Workstation Clean and Disinfected

Maintain good hand hygiene. Perform hand hygiene before and after touching the medical workstation, or direct or indirect contact with a patient or the patient’s environment.

Assign the user to be responsible for routine cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning and disinfection must be done every time the device has the potential to become contaminated.

Keep clutter to a minimum. Clear off any unnecessary supplies and other materials that you aren't using on a regular basis. Keeping a medical workstation clear will give bacteria less of a chance to stick around

Place disinfection solutions in multiple areas where medical workstations are used, stored or moved to. Solutions placed on the equipment with a Sani-wipe holder, bracket or bin can serve as a constant reminder and promote ease of use.

Train clinicians on best practices and regular education reminding staff of processes and the importance of cleaning and disinfecting. Implement a mechanism or program to regularly monitor that the processes are being followed.

Frequently wipe off individual pieces of equipment like keyboard covers, computer cases, cords and mice with proper disinfecting wipes.

How Frequently You Should Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect

It’s easy for bacteria and dirt to build upon your equipment, and the chance of spreading HAIs is high, so it’s important to clean and disinfect on a regular basis.

Workstations and the technology and equipment onboard should be cleaned and disinfected whenever any part:

  • Is visibly soiled
  • Had the potential to become contaminated
  • When leaving a designated isolation room

Workstations should be entirely deep cleaned and disinfected before and after each shift.

Approved Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a guide on disinfectants that meet its criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Below are some of the approved disinfectants that have shown to have no discoloration or damage to the finish on Altus 3D laminate worksurfaces.

  • Agar™ Powerquat
  • Asepticare™
  • Asepticare™ TB-II
  • AVISTAT-D™ Ready To Use Spray Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Biotrol BirexSE®
  • Bleach 1:5 (20% bleach)
  • Bleach-Rite® Disinfecting Spray
  • CaviCide™
  • CaviCide™ AF
  • Citrace® germicide
  • Clorox® Broad Spectrum Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Clorox® Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Cleaner
  • Clorox® Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes
  • Clorox® Healthcare Dispatch® Hospital Cleaner Disinfectant with Bleach
  • Clorox® Healthcare EZ-KILL® Wipes
  • Clorox® Healthcare VersaSure® Cleaner Disinfection Wipes
  • Diversey™ Accel® INTERVention® Wipes
  • Diversey™ Accel® TB
  • ERC Performance Wipes
  • FADE-A-DYNE II Recommended Disinfectants*
  • Lysol® Disinfectant Spray
  • McKesson Disposable Germicidal Surface Wipes
  • McKesson Pro-Tech RTU Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Micro-Chem Plus™
  • OPTIM® 1 Wipes
  • OPTIM® 33TB
  • Oxivir® 1 RTU
  • Oxivir® TB
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® AF3 Germicidal Disposable Wipes
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® HB
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus
  • PDI Super Sani-Cloth®
  • PDI Super Sani-Cloth® Bleach Germicidal Disposable Wipes
  • Precise Hospital Foam Cleaner Disinfectant
  • Precise QTB Spray
  • Sani-Kleen Broad-Cide 128
  • SaniZide® Plus
  • Santimine 150
  • Virex®II 256
  • Virox AHP 5
  • Wex-Cide 128

How to Clean Each Section of Your Workstation

Each workstation may look different from hospital to hospital, but it’s important to clean and disinfect the entire workstation including the worksurface, keyboard and mouse tray, monitor, monitor support, base, stand and exterior workstation accessories.

The most common and most effective way to clean your medication delivery carts, mobile computer carts and wall-mounted workstations for healthcare is using disposable, medical-grade, disinfectant and decontaminate wipes.

Please note, before using any cleaning product always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully

Monitor

Clinicians spend hours looking at their monitors, and a clean monitor makes it easier for them to do their tasks and prevent bacteria from spreading. The best way to clean your LCD monitor is to turn it off and gently wipe the screen and exterior plastic with a damp but not saturated microfiber cloth and an alcohol solution.

Note: Make sure to not spray water on the screen or press too hard, as this could damage your monitor's pixels. Paper products such as paper towels or tissues and cleaning cloths with sewn edges are also not recommended, as they may scratch the monitor. Avoid exposed fan areas or ports that could be damaged.

Laptop

Be sure to unplug and turn off your laptop workstation before cleaning. Clean with cotton swaps and a hospital-grade disinfectant. Be careful not to scratch sensitive components of the body but utilizing a microfiber cloth.

Battery

Many medical workstations on wheels and are powered with a battery to support mobile technology, also known as battery powered carts. Clean the exterior with a hospital-grade solution that won’t ware the material. If interior cleaning is required, make sure the workstation is unplugged and use an air pressure spray to remove dust and debris.

Cables

As always, unplug all power accessories first. To get rid of stickiness and discoloration, use a wipe or dampen a cloth with the hospital-grade solution and rub cables with it. To avoid water damage, make sure the cloth is damp vs soaking.

Keyboard and Mouse

Because clinicians are likely to use a keyboard and mouse throughout every moment of the day, they can become a hotspot for bacteria, debris and dirt accumulating between the keys.

It’s best to use a keyboard and mouse that is sealed, waterproof and immersible to easily and completely clean with a hospital-grade disinfectant. Be sure to unplug the keyboard and mouse before cleaning.

Medical Equipment

Medical equipment such as bar code holders are necessary for the job, but also can build up dust, dirt and bacteria. When cleaning the exterior, use a damp wipe or cloth with hospital-grade approved products. If interior cleaning is needed, unplug the device and use an air pressure spray can to remove dust and debris.

How to Clean Different Materials

Paints and Plastics

For painted metals and plastics - ordinary dirt, smudges and water-soluble stains can be removed with mild soap and water. If needed for difficult stains, clean by using commonly used, diluted, non-abrasive solutions such as quaternary ammonia compounds, ammonia enzyme cleaners, bleach or alcohol solutions

3D Laminate/Thermofoil

Many workstation surfaces are covered with a 3D laminate or thermofoil. These materials can sometimes be sensitive to cleaning solutions, so it’s recommended that any cleaning solution be tested on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure the surface is not harmed.

For stubborn marks like pen and permanent and dry erase markers, removed with 70% isopropyl alcohol and a soft cloth. Rub in the direction of the grain; use caution to avoid damaging the surface texture or gloss. If no grain direction is visible, rub with a light, circular motion.

Aluminum Bases

Most durable medical workstations are built with a strong material like aluminum for constant years of use.

Dust regularly with a soft, clean cloth. Occasionally, it may be necessary to use a mild non-abrasive cleaner. To remove scuff marks and scratches using automotive polishing compounds, either liquid or paste. After polishing, apply a pre-softened automotive paste wax to restore original sheen.

Cleaning Considerations

Even if hospital-grade approved, it is recommended that any cleaning solution be tested on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure the surface is not harmed. Never use steel wool or other abrasive materials that will damage the surface finish.

Again, before using any cleaning product always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

Keeping Patients and Clinicians Healthy

Taking action to prevent bacteria from being transmitted via medical workstations and the equipment onboard can lower the risk of HAIs in patients and caregivers.

An investment in high-quality medical workstations, in conjunction with proper cleaning and disinfecting supplies and processes, is an investment in health for everyone.

Fight HAIs With This Workstation Cleaning Guide Infographic

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