Is Your Water/Ice Dispenser Safe for Patients?

image of a water and ice dispenser on a refrigerator

Water and ice dispensers are convenient sources of fluids for patients and are frequently found in hospital nutrition rooms. During mock surveys, we have observed infection control concerns with managing water/ice dispensers that are important to address. When rounding on your hospital units, we recommend the following:

  • Check the water spigot, drip tray, and surfaces for limescale build-up, dirt, and water deposits. Is the dispenser on a routine cleaning schedule? Examine the spigot with a flashlight and swabs to identify build-up that may not be easy to see.
  • Are the cleaning products being used as recommended by the Instructions for Use (IFU)?
  • Is there regular monitoring of the incoming water quality and safety to prevent infection from microorganisms?
  • Is the dispenser used frequently enough to prevent poor water quality?
  • Is proper hand hygiene performed when using the dispenser?
  • Are cups allowed to be reused when obtaining water and ice that could cause cross-contamination?

With regular cleaning, maintenance, and proper infection control practices, the risk of waterborne pathogens can be mitigated. Keep water/ice dispensers safe through routine care and maintenance. Monitor dispensers during environmental rounds to prevent potentially serious infection control risks.

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