Relationship between shared patient care items and healthcare-associated infections: A systematic review

Ilana Livshiz-Riven, Abraham Borer, Ronit Nativ, Seada Eskira, Elaine Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Environmental surfaces may contribute to transmission of nosocomial pathogens. Noninvasive portable clinical items potentially shared among patients (NPIs) are part of the patient's immediate surroundings and may pose a threat of pathogen transmission. Objective: To assess the body of literature describing the range of microorganisms found on NPIs and evaluate the evidence regarding the potential for cross-transmission of microorganisms between NPIs and hospitalized patients in non-outbreak conditions. Design: A comprehensive list of NPIs was developed, and a systematic review of these items combined with healthcare-associated infection related keywords was performed. Data sources: PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Library. Review methods: A systematic review was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist to identify and synthesize research reports published between January 1990 and July 2013 on studies regarding contamination of NPIs and association to infections in non-outbreak circumstances. Results: 1498 records were scanned for eligibility. Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria. Overall, rates of NPI contamination ranged from 23% to 100%. Normal skin or environmental flora were found on almost all positive cultures. Potential pathogens, e.g., Staphylococcus aureus, were present on up to 86%, and Pseudomonas spp. and/or Enterobacteriaceae in 38% of positive cultures. Multi-drug resistant organisms were isolated from up to 25% of items. Three studies explored association between NPIs contamination and patient colonization and infection. One study reported 5 patients with healthcare-associated infections with pathogens found concurrently on NPIs, one found cross-transmission between patient skin bacteria and NPI contamination, and a third did not find any cross-transmission. Conclusions: Potential pathogens and multiply resistant organisms present on NPIs in routine, non-outbreak conditions and in a variety of settings confirms the need to improve NPIs decontamination practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-392
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Colonization
  • Contamination
  • Cross-infection
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Hospital
  • Non-critical items

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between shared patient care items and healthcare-associated infections: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this