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Decontamination practices

Published on 24 August 2021

Reusable patient care equipment, such as commodes and drip stands, and the care environment, such as beds and chairs, can easily become contaminated. These items and surfaces may come into contact with blood and body fluids, secretions, excretions and infectious agents during care delivery.

Decontamination is the process for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising equipment and the environment. It’s essential to lower the number of cross-infections between people and prevent HAI.

Routine environmental cleaning is undertaken on a scheduled basis and subject to regular local audit. The NHSScotland National Cleaning Services Specification (PDF, 958KB) and Care Environment Cleaning specification for older people and adult care homes provide guidance on the process for cleaning areas in healthcare facilities.

The National Infection Prevention and Control Manual provides mandatory guidance and literature reviews on management of the care environment and equipment.