With major government initiatives and increased growth in medical tourism, healthcare services in India are in demand and hold a new wave of opportunity. Housekeeping plays a major role in maintaining a healthy facility. Sweety Mandot, Manager-Operations, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai, shares the housekeeping practices carried out at her hospital.
With services rendered to varied population, we at Bhatia Hospital focus on culture of values & principles towards patient quality care. Due to easy access of information and increased awareness among people, an effective team work has become a necessity to ensure value-based delivery of patient safety and satisfaction. Along with doctors and nurses, team of housekeepers and patient care attendants play a pivotal role.
Housekeeping simply means provision of clean, comfortable, safe and aesthetically pleasing environment. It is a support service department responsible for sanitation in patient & staff areas. The objective of the department is to ensure high standards of cleanliness and have team of trained manpower, in order to adhere to infection prevention and patient safety practices. The other key components of the department are patient safety transport, patient care, biomedical waste management, spill management & disinfection process ensuring personal safety in each aspect.
Lack of trained manpower in housekeeping has been a challenge across the segment. This ground level housekeeping staff requires set of skills and right mindset to ensure good hygiene and infection control standards. Ours being manpower-based contract with outsource agencies, staff attrition is another challenge. The team has to carry out work right from transport of patient to patient care and to cleaning activity; this multi tasking increases risk of cross infection if not trained and supervise efficiently. Housekeeping team also need to have good interpersonal skills as they have daily interactions with patients, patient attendants, doctors, nurses, other medical professionals and staff.
The management of housekeeping team at Bhatia Hospital focuses on three aspects: Practical SOP, Skill development and Staff motivation.
Cleanliness with defined standards & guidelines along with maintaining good hygiene is one of the most important requirements for good health. Hospital environment play a host to the most powerful germs, potentially harmful microorganisms which can infect patients, healthcare workers and the general public. Therefore, it is important to have strict cleaning & sanitation program implementation and to move towards the goal of a healthy, unpolluted environment.
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For continuous development and improvement of the housekeeping team, it is very important to render support and facilitate employee engagement activities
The SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) of the department is tweaked as per hospital infrastructure and practicality in order to ensure its adherence. We have divided our hospital into four cleaning zones depending on patient direct contact, criticality and isolation care; this has helped us to target towards coordinated quality care with standardized and uniform practices. With defined cleaning schedule and program using designated disinfectants, we aim at achieving healthy environment. With traffic inflow during day time, night deep cleaning has been part of daily routines.
With enormous changes in healthcare at rapid pace, practice in isolation increases the patient risk, so we follow different strategy at Bhatia Hospital. In addition to daily training modules and internal briefings, there are cross departmental trainings on a daily basis. This involves hospital departmental authorities to train housekeeping team on various aspects. For example, the biomedical department provides training on safe equipment handling and cleaning; the physiotherapy department focuses on training for patient safety in transport and mobilization; and the engineering department helps housekeeping team to understand operations of mechanized beds.
These class room briefings, practical demonstration and on job training have helped develop skill, knowledge and overall efficacy of the team. This has been a major driving force for the team wherein each one plays as a resourceful team member. Teams also have easy accessibility of cleaning program in their understandable language in their respective locations and various educational pictorial charts like hand hygiene.
We ensure outsourced agencies have scheduled rewards and recognition activity for the team. This has really helped to keep up the team motivation to continue and to accelerate towards improvement. For clear cut communication & awareness regarding everyone’s role and expectation, we follow an open briefing session. Each housekeeping staff is free to share ideas, incidents, experiences and this is how department has routinely adopted best practices suitable to hospital environment. These sessions have helped team to share responsibility with accountability resulting in resourceful and effective frontline team.