Hassan Ismail Mayet, President, Alipore Social Welfare Trust runs an 80-bedded hospital in Navsari, Gujarat. He writes about how his housekeeping team worked through the pandemic, how it cleans wards and the bottom line of expenditure.
Cleaning amidst the pandemic
During the pandemic, we had a lot of dropouts and absenteeism among cleaning staff on one pretext or another, mainly due to rumours. However, proper counselling and leading from the front by department heads gave them courage to work and keep the hospital tidy in the ‘dangerous’ wards where Covid patients were admitted.
We had three departments for isolation: Covid Suspect, Covid Patients and Covid ICU. We gave incentives on a daily basis to staff who worked in these departments. These teams were also kept in isolation, frequently tested and well-fed with a proper diet.
We had to intensify hygiene in, and maintain the wards, passages and washrooms. Hence, frequency of cleaning was increased from twice to four times a day in isolation areas. Fumigation and cleaning of bed sheets and pillow covers etc was to be done immediately, since we cannot keep linen unwashed for long. Disposable sheets were used over the bed sheets for safety reasons.
Ward cleaning SOPs
- The direction of cleaning in healthcare facilities must be from the clean area to the dirty area.
- In closed spaces like a ward, the direction should be from within outwards.
- Clean the furniture and cot castors with a clean duster using the germicidal solution prepared in the plastic pail, directly or with a spray bottle.
- Put the tables and cots back in position.
- Take all cleaning equipment and tools out of the room.
- Scan the room to ensure that cleaning is done thoroughly and no personal belongings/ cleaning equipment is left behind in the room.
- Keep your equipment and tools at a designated place, after rinsing in fresh germicidal solution.
- Remember to clean the door stoppers, door handles and latches which are usually left unattended.
Cleaning-related expenditure is worth it, as it gives confidence to everyone from doctors and nurses to patients and visitors. Although costing can be a hurdle, the long term needs to be taken into consideration and no compromise is possible.