Lifting the lid: a clinical audit on commode cleaning

Helen Bucior, Joan Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Many healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) are preventable by infection control procedures designed to interrupt the transmission of organisms from a source. Commodes are in use constantly throughout healthcare facilities. Therefore commode surfaces are constantly handled, and any pathogens present have the potential to be transferred to not only other surfaces but also, more importantly, to patients, thus compromising patient safety. In order to examine the effectiveness and thoroughness of cleaning commodes an audit was undertaken to assess compliance with evidence-based practice. This audit demonstrates a cycle which includes defining best practice, implementing best practice, monitoring best practice and taking action to improve practice. The audit results confirmed an issue that the authors had long suspected. That is, that commodes allocated to individual patients are not always cleaned after every use. Using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence as an indicator of organic soiling also demonstrated that commodes that were considered clean were not always cleaned to a high standard. Implementing the audit recommendations improves staff knowledge through education, standardises cleaning procedures and ultimately improves patient safety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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