A Complete Approach to Patient Room Safety Helps Hospitals Combat COVID-19

patient room program screenshot

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the survivability and spread of COVID-19. Yet as hospitals manage the large numbers of COVID-19 patients entering their doors, protecting hospital staff and patients requires having a thorough and efficient cleaning program in place that reinforces infection prevention best practices.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine1 details how the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is stable for several hours to several days depending on the surface in question. This suggests that people may acquire the virus through contact with droplets in the air (coughing or sneezing), direct contact with a person infected with the virus (handshake), or after touching objects contaminated with the virus.

A complete program including disinfection, standard process/protocol, training and compliance can help effectively combat these vectors of disease.

Ecolab’s Patient Room Program includes four key features designed to bring a complete approach to safe workflows, containment and helping keep hospital staff and patients safe.

1. Disinfectant Products That Can Be Used During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Members of the Patient Room Program benefit from the use of Ecolab’s disinfectants, including OxyCide™ Daily Disinfectant Cleaner. The EPA has published List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-22, and these Ecolab products meet the criteria for claims against emerging viral pathogens. These can therefore be used during COVID-19 when used in accordance with the directions for use against the listed supporting virus on hard, non-porous surfaces. Please note that not all products may be available given current demand, but if hospitals have any of these in stock they may be used.

2. Standardized Patient Room Cleaning Workflows

The Ecolab Patient Room Program incorporates established guidelines and recommendations centered around infection prevention to provide a standardized and thorough process for cleaning. In a survey of current Patient Room Program customers, 93% agreed that the Ecolab Patient Room Program improved staff awareness and knowledge in cleanliness.3 Having teams trained to clean the same objects in the same order, every time, decreases the opportunity for objects to be missed and for pathogen spread. In addition, standardized cleaning can help hospitals realize financial benefits. In the same survey, 80% of Infection Preventionists reported that the Ecolab Patient Room Program improved both process standardization and increased operational cost savings.3

3. Professional Training Based on Industry Best Practices

As we push forward through this outbreak, many hospitals may look to non-EVS employees to clean public spaces so that EVS staff can focus on important patient areas, like ICUs. Cleaning these public spaces (e.g. exam rooms, lobbies, public restrooms, etc.) is just as important to stem the spread of COVID-19. The Patient Room Program includes a host of training tools that are helpful for EVS personnel to refresh their knowledge and non-EVS personnel who are taking on a cleaning role to help flatten the curve.

4. Auditing Tools to Monitor Cleaning Results

The Observational Survey Tool and DAZO® Fluorescent Marking Gel provide an objective method to evaluate the thoroughness of the cleaning process, rather than the presence of organic material or pathogens.4 Other environmental monitoring methods intended to measure organic load (e.g. ATP)5 or bacterial burden (e.g. bacterial cultures) do not detect viruses, so the DAZO gel is a critical tool to have in one’s toolbox to ensure cleanliness. The dashboard consolidates audit data, providing visibility to a hospital’s cleaning process so EVS can pinpoint where corrective action is needed before errors put a patient at risk. In fact, 92% of Patient Room Program customers use our dashboards at least monthly, and 60% use them on a weekly basis.3

Additionally, the Patient Room Program comes armed with cleaning modules to cover high-touch objects across multiple room types in the hospital, including patient rooms, PACU, ED, exam rooms and public restrooms. The option to create a custom module for high-touch objects in a room not currently on the list is also available. As hospitals look to expand the viability of cleaning coverage, they may require additional DAZO® Fluorescent Marking Gel to accommodate the spike in hospital admissions and increased room turnover, or to monitor common areas. We ask that they please notify their Ecolab Account Executive. We want to make sure that hospitals can leverage the Patient Room Program to its full potential during this pandemic.

During this unprecedented time, Ecolab deeply appreciates all that hospitals and healthcare workers are doing to keep patients and fellow staff safe. And our team is here to help. Whether it’s learning more about how to leverage insights from auditing tools and dashboard reporting, or working with your Account Executive to troubleshoot, you can count on the Ecolab team to support you and ensure you can leverage our system to its full potential during this pandemic.

Please set up time with your Account Executive to discuss how these insights can support your work.


  1. Van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1. The New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973 (2020). https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973
  2. Environmental Protection Agency, List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. https://www.epa.gov/pesticideregistration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
  3. Ecolab data on file. 2020 Survey conducted by a third-party research firm.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Options for Evaluating Environmental Cleaning. www.cdc.gov/HAI/toolkits/Evaluating-Environmental-Cleaning.html
  5. Environmental Protection Agency, Emerging Viral Pathogen Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides. www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/emerging-viral-pathogen-guidance-antimicrobial-pesticides
Learn More about the Patient Room Program

About the Author

Ecolab Healthcare Insights

Ecolab Healthcare

Ecolab Healthcare is driven to help health systems and hospitals realize clinical, operational and financial value through a programmatic approach to hospital cleaning through repeatable and measurable workflows.

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