The role of decontamination in reducing healthcare-associated infections
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

The role of decontamination in reducing healthcare-associated infections

Shirley Kirnon Professional practice: infection prevention and control pathway lead/transnational education link tutor, College of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the most common healthcare-associated infections and major sources of contamination

  • To consider how effective decontamination forms a vital aspect of infection prevention and control

  • To update your understanding of the benefits of applying human factors to nursing procedures to reduce human error

Effective decontamination is a vital aspect of infection prevention and control, and has a crucial role in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Various decontamination methods can be used in healthcare settings to ensure that medical devices, equipment and the clinical environment are safe. It is essential for nurses and other healthcare staff to have adequate knowledge of the decontamination methods and infection prevention and control practices required to prevent HCAIs. This article discusses the most common HCAIs, decontamination methods that can be used, and relevant UK legislation, policies and guidance. It also outlines nurses’ responsibilities in relation to infection prevention and control and the importance of education and training in this area, with a particular focus on integrating human factors.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12302

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Kirnon S (2024) The role of decontamination in reducing healthcare-associated infections. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12302

Published online: 11 March 2024

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