Our company has been servicing healthcare facilities for many years now. It is very important that all the areas of the hospitals right from the OPD waiting area to the operation theatre should be clean and infection-free to remove any kind of fear from the patients. A dirty hospital often acts as a deterrent rather than encourage people to walk in and get treated.
Recently, 134 District Hospitals in Uttar Pradesh have outsourced cleaning services to us and are looking at mechanised cleaning solutions to instil confidence in the people. We have deployed 3817 workers to service these hospitals. Hospital cleaning services should be entrusted in the hands of experienced personnel.
A hospital cleaning service needs specialised skills over commercial housekeeping. For example, surfaces frequently touched have a great potential to act as vehicles for infectious agents and hence, require frequent cleaning.
Although hospital cleaning is still primarily assessed via visual inspection, the concept of hospital hygiene is gradually developing into a highly-specialised package of services for every part of the hospital premises. While the precise role of cleaning in infection control is not established, people in general link infection to their experience of dirty hospitals. Housekeeping staff should be well informed on ways to sanitize the different rooms – for patient recovery, examination, operation, emergency, MRI and X-ray.
The housekeeping staff should adequately and properly be trained in handling expensive medical equipment and materials, in proper handling of infectious diseases and blood borne pathogens and they must be fully conversant with proper recycling and management of waste products.
It goes without saying that hygienic cleaning has a role in the control of hospital-acquired infections. Daily cleaning to kill bacteria & viruses and periodic deep cleaning to control hospital-acquired infections using the right equipment and chemicals in a proper schedule are important.
The equipment used for cleaning are single disc scrubber for marble flooring; high pressure jet machine for cleaning parking area; wet and dry vacuum cleaner for cleaning floors and carpets; steam jet pressure machine for toilet and floor corners and auto scrubber for scrubbing and vacuuming. Dulevo machines have been deployed at the UP district hospitals.
During the routine daily cleaning, areas like bedside, patient lockers, bed tables and bed frames, clinical equipment, sites at the nurses’ workstation and door handles should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected.
The places which are visited by patients frequently should also get the focus of the cleaner. All hand-touch areas near the patient must get enhanced cleaning attention and should be cleaned two to three times per day. Similarly, hand-touch clinical equipment should be cleaned two times per day. All door handles in the ward as well as items such as plastic wall-mounted racks, visitors’ chairs and hand-touch sites in the ward office and kitchen should get special attention of the cleaner.
Regular quality control audits on environmental cleaning should be carried out concentrating on floors and bathroom facilities and equipment and cleaning consumables.
Every area in a healthcare facility should be divided into four different risk categories of very high risk, high risk, moderate risk and low risk.
Hospital cleaning becomes a challenging task because of unavoidable demands on it. The cleaning programme must meet successfully the following challenges.
- Inconvenience to doctors, nurses and visitors should be avoided and for that, routines should be planned immaculately
- Ability to adjust to interruptions and need for flexibility
- To prevent cross infection, special attention to be paid to cleaning methods and equipment
- Least amount of noise
- Work methodology with greater variation in methods and standards for different areas
- Frequent re-doing of cleaning tasks in heavy use areas e.g. mopping of floors, cleaning of toilets and wash basins as well as a need for cleaning check
- Consistent cleaning in conjecture with nursing procedures, e.g. making bed before vacuum cleaning
Hence, a successful housekeeping in a healthcare sector should have –
- Competent and credible management
- Efficient and proficient staff
- Regular performance inspection of the employees
- Regular feedback from patients, hospital staff and visitors
- Friendly-looking, competent employees with good interpersonal relations.