Patients visit healthcare facilities to have diseases and infections cured. Therefore, it should be the last place where they catch new infections. Attention to cleanliness and housekeeping should top the list of priorities in non-clinical care services.
A dirty hospital can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. It can severely impact the overall process of delivering better care to patients. In fact, not just patients but everyone is at risk of exposure to infections, including visitors, janitorial staff, non-clinical staff, and healthcare professionals.
An essential aspect of healthcare housekeeping is that all the persons in a facility work together to ensure cleanliness. Thus, the doctors, nursing staff, management, and housekeeping workers must collaborate in preparing an infection-free environment for everyone.
With the continuous admission of infected patients, high footfall, and external contamination, keeping a healthcare facility clean might seem like a challenging task to accomplish. However, the correct practices and products can make a lot of difference.
Hospital administrators play an essential role in the proper housekeeping of healthcare facilities. The upper management can further strengthen the skills of its frontline cleaning staff with additional training/qualifications in healthcare administration. Staff can enroll in digital programs such as online MHA degrees to ensure a healthy work-study balance, thereby continuing their practice with education. These programs help individuals develop a better understanding of improving non-clinical areas of care delivery, such as maintaining cleanliness and hygiene within the facility.
With that said, here are some essential housekeeping and cleanliness tips to keep the facility risk-free for all entities in the hospital.
Provide protective gear for janitorial staff
When it comes to cleaning, the janitorial staff plays the most significant role. They are also at a higher risk of catching infections and spreading contamination. Therefore it is necessary to provide them with the proper equipment to do their job effectively. This includes an appropriate grade of protective overalls, masks, and gloves to ensure their body and skin do not come into contact with infectious material.
It is also imperative to train them about keeping their hands sanitized when they go and come back from their rounds. The management should ensure the availability of 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disposable latex gloves, and related products. This way, they can limit the spread of disease by not carrying germs with them.
Develop a customizable cleaning program
The continuous inflow of people increases the risk of external contamination within healthcare facilities. Visitors and patients bring all sorts of germs inside via their shoes, clothes, and hands. Therefore, a dedicated yet customizable cleaning program is an essential requirement to counter such contamination.
For instance, there are days when the footfalls are higher than usual, and regular cleaning SOPs become ineffective. In such a case, it best to have more frequent cleaning rounds to ensure hygiene standards are being met constantly. Similarly, in the case of a viral outbreak, the management should improvise the strategy to ensure improved preventive measures. The Covid-19 pandemic is an excellent example to learn from.
Frequent hospital cleaning and disinfecting
The cleanliness staff of the hospital should include deep cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in their routine. Regular cleaning can help sterilize the surface, but it cannot guarantee disinfection of more difficult-to-reach places.
The use of potent, medical-grade disinfectants is integral to remove infection-causing agents. Staff members can use microfiber cloths to clean surface layers of hospital furniture and equipment thoroughly. Additionally, disinfectant sprays can kill the germs in the air or in areas difficult to reach by hand. Keeping a spray nearby can help the other staff members to take part in the cleaning process during routine work.
Frequently change mops, dusters, and microfiber cloths
Frequent cleaning implies that mops and microfibers are more likely to wear down faster. Also, reusing them can lead to more cross-contamination across the facility.
A clean piece of cloth can help you evenly spread the disinfectant on the surface. However, you can unquestionably imagine how a dirty one can ruin the whole purpose of the job. Having dedicated cleaning cloths for various surfaces and areas can prevent cross-contamination.
Choose the right disinfectant
The market is afloat with several disinfectants and hospital cleaning items, all of them promising to be the most effective. Here the housekeeping staff has an important responsibility to procure the right kind of products. However, not everything works. It is best to use only FDA-approved products cleaning surfaces and washing hospital linen and apparel to ensure everything is bacteria and virus-free.
Maintain your waste properly
The healthcare system uses tons of disposable material every day. While using disposable gloves, masks, PPEs, tissues, etc., is essential to keep operational costs under control, it is also necessary to ensure proper waste management to avoid spreading contamination. Ensure all these disposable items get adequately disposed of to prevent any risk of spreading infection with them.
The most appropriate way is to put them in a bag durable and easy to seal. When filling the garbage bag, don’t pack it too tight. A bag filled to the brim risks tearing apart, leaking across the floors, and provides a suitable breeding environment for bacteria in dumpsters.
Keeping a healthcare facility clean is integral in preventing the spread of disease and infection inside the place. A dirty hospital can cause more harm than good to patients’ and staff members’ health. Proper housekeeping is essential for the speedy recovery of the patients. These simple tips can help healthcare managers and administrators ensure their facilities are hygienic and suitable for effective patient care delivery.