The purpose of this study was to determine current regulations and policies in the United States concerning maximal water temperatures in acute care hospitals.
A standardized questionnaire administered by telephone to health department officials from 50 states and the District of Columbia.
See also page 636
State Health Departments in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
All states responded to the survey. Respondents from 39 states (77%) reported regulating maximum allowable hospital water temperature at a mean of 116°F (median, 120°F; mode 110°F; range, 110°F to 129°F). Twelve states (23%) have no regulations for maximum water temperature. Of the 39 states regulating maximum water temperature, 30 (77%) routinely monitor hospital compliance. Nine states (23%) conduct inspections only in response to a complaint or incident.
There is great variation among the states with respect to the existence, enforcement, and specific regulations controlling hospital water temperature. Risk-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses would help to assess the risk of scald injuries at water temperatures that will inhibit microbial contamination (Infect Con-trol HOsp Epidemiol 1993;14:642-645).