Proper healthcare facility cleaning is absolutely vital in today’s world. The concern about HAI’s (Healthcare Associated Infections) is higher than ever, which has cause healthcare facility cleanliness to come under fire.
You can’t hire just any cleaning company; you must choose a company that understands that cleaning a medical facility goes beyond appearances. Their employees must be properly trained in medical cleaning and their training must include bloodborne pathogens, hand hygiene, cross-contamination, and HIPAA laws.
In the general sector, “cleaning for appearance” is often considered more important than “cleaning for health” due to budgetary constraints. With medical cleaning, the staff must be aware that there’s more to it than maintaining a presentable appearance. The cleaning staff must insure a safe and hygienic atmosphere for patients, staff, and visitors. That requires specialized training and an understanding of the science of cleaning.
Questions to Ask Your Cleaning Service Provider Regarding Their Healthcare Facility Cleanliness Procedures
There are a number of questions to consider when it comes to cleaning your healthcare facility. Let’s explore some of them in detail.
- Patient safety and hospital security is vital. Does your cleaning service have a documented and thorough screening process for all employees? For example, a quality cleaning service might screen for drugs, do a thorough criminal record search, verify the accuracy of the employee’s social security information, and check to ensure the employee is not on the sex offender registry.
- Does your cleaning service do ongoing Infection Control Risk Assessments? This is a plan that evaluates the levels of cleanliness that are required throughout the facility, such as critical, non-critical, and high-touch surfaces.
- Does your cleaning service implement the key elements to HAI reduction?
- Products—you must use hospital-grade disinfectants that will effectively kill the bacteria. And employees must follow directions for dwell time in order for the product to work. If not, they put everyone at risk.
- Procedures—create very clearly defined protocols for cleaning patient and surgical areas.
- Validation—request frequent feedback from facilities and monitor for compliance.
- Are cleaning technicians trained on cleaning chemical characteristics, physical characteristics, cleaning chemical’s compatibility with surfaces, proper PPE and safety precautions? Are cleaning technicians trained on proper application and disposal procedures? These chemicals are potentially dangerous when used in an inappropriate manner; cleaning staff must understand how to use them and how to dispose of them.
- Have you seen your cleaning service’s training programs? Do they include HAI training, hand hygiene, cross contamination, high touch point disinfection, bloodborne pathogen training, and HIPAA laws? Does your cleaning service provide ongoing training to cleaning technicians, and if so, how often? The requirements for these particular services are definitely subject to change, so you must be satisfied that your service is completely up to date in their trainings. If they have missed a vital update, your patients, visitors and staff could be endangered.
- Does your cleaning service have a Discharge Cleaning Process for every patient discharged from your facility? After every single patient leaves your facility, there must be a protocol in place for disinfecting and sterilizing the room for the next patient. The danger of cross-contamination is too great to risk a sub-par cleaning after discharge.
- Are cleaning technicians trained on demonstrating courtesy and respect to patients upon entering their rooms to clean? If your cleaning crew maintains a sterile and hygienic environment but doesn’t engage in an appropriate manner with your patients, they’re missing a vital part of their jobs. Your HCAHPS score could plummet if patients feel that the staff was rude or disrespectful.
- Does your cleaning service use safe cleaning methods using environmentally friendly products and equipment? More and more patients are concerned with the “greenness” and safety of their medical facility’s products and equipment. It’s smart to keep this in mind when you hire a cleaning service.
- How does your cleaning service hold itself accountable to ensure employees are following guidelines and procedures on a daily basis? Just because your service promises that their staff will follow the guidelines and procedures they require doesn’t mean that they’re actually following up on them, ensuring that their practices are in place. Request an accounting of their methods for accountability before you take them at their word. CSG’s Auditing Platform allows facilities to see our accountability practices for themselves. CSG has the technology available to ensure that every client’s specific needs are met.
You’ve worked hard to build your building’s reputation as a state-of-the-art medical facility; don’t let your cleaning service’s lack of training tarnish that reputation. Or, worse yet, endanger the health and safety of your patients, your staff, or the visitors to your facility. You should make it your mission to partner with a professional medical cleaning service with a proven track record that understands how to deal with healthcare facility cleanliness challenges. Let your cleaners be an asset, not a liability.