Fluorescent Audits – A shining example of objective assessment of compliance with cleaning standards

Carla De Marco 1, Louise Hobbs 1, Caroline Marshall 1

Melbourne Health, Parkville, VIC, Australia


Literature describes how the environment plays an important role in the transmission of micro-organisms. In 2012, the Infection Prevention Service began trialling a fluorescent audit process to measure cleaning efficacy. The discrepancy between the trial results and our visual audit results generated serious concern. The intent of the trial was to establish an evidence base to generate changes to the cleaning service provided.

Between October 2015 and March 2016, 88 discharge cleans were audited using the new fluorescent audit tool. The fluorescent marking was standardised for all rooms. Using the tool, compliance was reported as a percentage of total elements marked. During the same time period these results were compared with those from the Victorian observational audits, where compliance was reported as a percentage of aesthetic acceptability.

The visual audits scored above 90% for ward areas throughout the trial period. Of the 88 discharge cleans; 17(19%) scored 100% cleaned elements, 23(26%) scored 80-99%, 42(48%) scored 5-79%, 6(7%) scored 0-4%. Subsequently Melbourne Health has embedded the use of the fluorescent audit tool to measure and drive cleaning improvement strategies.

Reliance on a visual measure of cleanliness does not ensure a clean environment for patients. Given the ever increasing risk posed by the environment, consideration should be given to adopt measureable cleaning methodologies to ensure that compliance with environmental cleaning standards is optimised.

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