If you manage environmental cleaning for a healthcare facility, patient and staff safety is one of your top priorities. Beyond reducing health and safety risks, a spotless facility is critical to your practice’s retention rate and financial success. The appearance of your facility reflects the quality of your practice and creates memorable impressions for your patients.
Your healthcare facility needs a welcoming atmosphere with a clean, organized appearance and cleaning protocols designed to prevent the spread of illness. Patient-centered cleaning focuses on helping to improve patient comfort, satisfaction and safety using industry-specific cleaning, sanitization and disinfection methods. With a cleaning program designed with patients in mind, you’re more likely to create the exact environment they expect when they enter your healthcare facility.
To create a patient-centered cleaning program, service professionals require specific training to understand and implement effective cleaning practices based on the unique needs of various types of healthcare facilities, from physician’s and dentist’s offices to outpatient surgical centers. Learn how the cleaning professionals at ServiceMaster of Flint design our healthcare cleaning programs to meet patient needs and priorities. Then, apply these tips and techniques to your own environmental cleaning procedures to help support better patient outcomes and experiences.
Design Evidence-Based, Industry-Specific Training Programs
Before starting work, healthcare facility janitorial staff and professional cleaning technicians should receive and master extensive, customized training based on regulatory industry standards. Your cleaning service provider should have specific training guidelines in place to educate its staff on proper use of advanced healthcare cleaning supplies, chemical products and equipment.
Depending on the type of healthcare facility – including different treatment areas within a single facility – additional training may be necessary to master proper decontamination methods. Generally speaking, however, all healthcare cleaning technicians should learn safety protocols and regulatory standards pertaining to:
- Standard precautions
- Cross-contamination prevention
- Infectious waste disposal
- Sharp precautions
- Contaminated laundry precautions
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Training programs should include evidence-based cleaning processes aligned with Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) guidelines and environmental cleaning policies from other industry-leading organizations, including:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
- Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)
Specialize Your Cleaning Procedures to Maximize Infection Control
Using the proper decontamination procedures for specific healthcare environments is the best way to maximize infection control. And once technicians complete their training program, it’s time to put their knowledge of these procedures into practice.
Some areas will require only low-level cleaning, sanitization or disinfection, while other high-risk zones will need hospital-grade disinfectant [disinfection procedures?] to remove harmful pathogens. Here’s a general guide to different environmental cleaning needs:
- Waiting rooms: collect minimal to large quantities of germs from patients depending on the type of practice (dental, chiropractic, urgent care, etc.); typically require sanitization or low-level disinfection.
- Nurses’ stations: due to the portability of equipment, nurses’ stations can easily spread contaminants from room to room; typically require frequent sanitization.
- Exam rooms: although most exam room surfaces that come into contact with patients have protective paper or plastic barriers, they should all be disinfected after use to reduce the risk of bacteria spreading between patients and workers.
- Operating rooms: because surgical patients are highly-susceptible to infection, top-to-bottom treatment with high-level or hospital-grade disinfectant is required after every operating room procedure.
- Isolation areas: due to exposure to extremely infectious diseases, isolation rooms require terminal cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectant between each use.
Thorough training and precise operations are the cornerstones of efficient environmental cleaning in healthcare facilities. In addition to ensuring the safety of patients and workers and improving the appearance of your facility, patient-centered cleaning can bring more consistency and profitability to your practice by increasing patient satisfaction overall.