On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI).¹ A significant threat to patient safety, the prevention of HAIs are a key focus of healthcare facility cleaning plans. Healthcare facility managers are tasked with keeping both patients and visitors safe, as well as improving the overall appearance, safety and cleanliness of a building. To address these needs, it’s important to identify cleaning targets, develop a comprehensive cleaning strategy and select effective products and tools to get the job done.
It’s no secret that microorganisms can spread through direct contact with surfaces and individuals. But environment also plays a huge role in the development and prevention of HAIs. According to the World Health Organization, research has linked the buildup of dust and debris on surfaces to the development of HAIs.² In fact, dust can contain fungi, viral or bacterial pathogens and transmit infectious diseases.³ Such microorganisms can survive for an extended period of time and travel seamlessly between surfaces – meaning that regular cleaning of healthcare surfaces is crucial to prevent transmission.
Knowing that the stakes couldn’t be higher, how can healthcare facility managers develop a comprehensive cleaning plan? Start by conducting an audit. Be candid about the problem areas in a facility and determine where improvements can be made. Floor care, dusting and disinfecting are three parts of a cleaning strategy that can help address the risk of infection and should therefore be completed daily. Continue to audit how these tasks are performed on an ongoing basis and highlight both successes and areas of concern.
Next, consider how to address these pain points with both long-term and immediate solutions. For example, a long-term preventative solution is to install a 3M matting system that helps capture and prevent dirt and debris from entering a facility. A more immediate and ongoing solution is to utilize an effective dusting product.
Today, cleaning staffs are tasked with doing more in less time, while still maintaining or exceeding aesthetic standards. As a result, facility managers must find efficiencies and integrate cleaning tools that are effective, easy to use, durable and versatile in order to save time and money.
Dusting – From floors to tops of doorways, dust is everywhere and on everything. To keep spaces free of dust and debris, it’s important to choose dusting tools that trap, collect and discard debris on multiple surfaces instead of simply moving it around.
Floor Care – Floor care is typically the most crucial but time-consuming part of a cleaning program. To minimize costs, consider implementing a system of products that work well together and can help streamline the floor cleaning process.
Cleaning Chemicals – Disinfectants are a critical tool in any healthcare setting, but it can be challenging to determine which disinfectant to use and how much. For example, certain chemicals require a longer dwell time, and their effectiveness can be diminished if not applied properly. As a solution, look for systems that make mixing chemicals easier, and provide comprehensive guides for the safety and efficiency of your staff. In addition, consider disinfectants with shorter dwell times , so that your staff can clean effectively in less time.
For all health care facilities, it’s important to implement a proactive cleaning strategy with strong dusting and disinfectant elements to successfully combat HAIs. Ultimately, by selecting the right products and processes for a specific cleaning situation, efficiencies that minimize time, labor and cost can be identified. Most importantly, with the right cleaning strategy, hospital infection rates can decrease, leading to increased patient safety and satisfaction.
² https://www.aorn.org/websitedata/cearticle/pdf_file/CEA14517-0001.pdf (PDF, 211 KB)
³ http://www.who.int/occupational_health/publications/en/oehairbornedust2.pdf?ua=1 (PDF, 64 KB)