A management model for Hospital Hygiene Unit: evidence-based pro-active surveillance of potential environmental sources of infection in order to prevent patient’s risk.


preventive medicine
environmental surfaces
water safety
food safety
patient safety


Introduction. The aim of this study is to describe a proactive surveillance system of food, water and environmental surfaces, in order to avoid Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) from hospital environment.

Methods. It is a retrospective descriptive study. The surveillance system consists of two integrated phases: pre-analytic and post-analytic. The activities are distinguished in ordinary control activities, performed after scheduled and shared surveys, and compliance activities, performed when it is necessary to establish the adequacy of the destination use, for example opening a new ward.

Results. A total of 1,470 Samples were collected and 539 Reports were generated across the five-year study period. Water for human consumption procedure: a statistically significant trend was found only in the total number of Samples collected (p < 0.001). Legionella spp. infection water risk procedure: all Samples and Reports, with the exception of Compliance Report Samples, showed a statistically significant trend (p < 0.001). Pseudomonas aeruginosa water risk procedure: only Ordinary Reports and Compliance Report Samples trend were statistically significant (p = 0.002 and p = 0.028 respectively). Effectiveness of surface sanitization procedure: no trend was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Hospital catering and food surfaces procedure: Samples and Reports yearly number was constant, no trend analysis was performed. HAIs prevalence was never over 5% in the hospital under study.

Conclusions. This surveillance system of water, food and environmental surfaces represents an innovative way of approaching hospital safety for patients and personnel because it overcomes the limitations due to a classic approach limited to a laboratory analytic phase only, according to the best available scientific evidence.



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