Contracts for catering and cleaning scrutinized

Most hospitals in Scotland are going to be banned from contracting out cleaning and catering services to private firms as part of a new drive toward cutting the spread of deadly superbugs.1

While few if any health care facilities in the United States are taking this approach, that doesn't mean that those responsible for infection control in those facilities are against the idea.

"We do know for a fact that when you have your own employees, not matter what service, you have more control in terms of the quality control approach," says Ann Marie Pettis, RN, BSN, CIC, infection prevention director at the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center and a spokes-woman for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. "You can hire and fire, and all of that." While most facilities don't feel a need to take such a "legalistic" approach, "it makes some common sense to me," Pettis says.

Many U.S. facilities prefer to have contracts for cleaning services. While the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) doesn't endorse any cleaning companies, there is one company that follows AORN guidelines for cleaning, says Joan Blanchard, RN, MSS, CNOR, CIC, perioperative nursing specialist at the AORN Center for Nursing Practice. The company, Jani-King (, won't sign a contract if it doesn't include terminal cleaning, Blanchard says.


  1. Kelbie P. Private cleaners barred in war on hospital bugs. The Observer. Oct. 19, 2008. Accessed at