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Glucose Meters and Infection Control

PDF Version of DQA 11-031  (PDF, 60 KB)

Date: November 29, 2011 -- DQA Memo 11-031
To: Nursing Homes NH 21
From: Juan Flores, Director
Bureau of Nursing Home Resident Care

Otis Woods, Administrator
Division of Quality Assurance

Glucose Meters and Infection Control

The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), Bureau of Nursing Home Resident Care (BNHRC) is an agent of the federal government and conducts nursing home surveys to ensure compliance with federal health and Life Safety Code regulations. Satisfactory performance during these surveys is required for facilities to continue their participation in the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs.


Previously, DQA issued DQA Memo 08-013 Glucose meters and Infection Control and DQA Memo 09-054 Cleaning and Disinfecting Glucose Meters Shared Between Residents. These memos addressed the standards of practice to prevent patient-to-patient transmission of bloodborne pathogens when using glucose meters and also provided information and guidance regarding the cleaning and disinfecting of glucose meters that are shared between residents in the facility. The information in these memos remains a valuable resource in order to comply with infection control requirements related to glucose meters.

Facilities continue to be cited for failing to clean and disinfect meters between residents when the meter is used by multiple residents. One new issue that has arisen is not ensuring the cleaning and disinfecting process is effective. Observations have included staff using cleaning agents that do not kill bloodborne pathogens or staff not adhering to the manufacturer's instructions for the cleaning agents to ensure effectiveness. For example, for a given disinfecting wipe, the manufacturer's instructions direct the disinfecting wipe to have contact time on the surface for 2 minutes to be effective. For this particular wipe, an observation of a violation would be staff using a wipe with a contact time of 30 seconds.

Requirements and Resources

Facilities should evaluate the products that are being used to clean and disinfect the glucose meters to ensure they are effective against bloodborne pathogens. Facilities should also complete surveillance to ensure staff is following the appropriate instructions for the cleaning agent being used. Most manufacturers have specific product websites that contain instructions for product use.

Please see the following resources for more information:

Resources for Fingerstick Device Standards

EPA Approved Cleaning Agents


If you have questions about this memo, please contact Doug Englebert, Pharmacist Consultant, at (608) 266-5388.


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Last Updated: November 30, 2011