Healthcare facilities are unique in several ways: they function 24×7, housekeeping is integral to their core operations, there are no off-peak times and any lapse may have catastrophic results. Rupal Sinha, CEO IFMS, Quess Corp Limited makes the case for imparting specialised training to housekeeping staff in healthcare facilities:
Need for specialised training
Meeting standards for ‘Environment of Care’ and an infection-free environment requires specialised training for facility staff to perform their duties, keeping in mind the individual patient’s non-clinical needs in terms of support, hygiene and cleanliness of their immediate surroundings.
Shifting patients from one area to another, wheelchair assistance, addressing patient needs along with the nursing staff, managing biomedical waste and other such services requires specialised and focussed training to meet expectations.
While hygiene and sanitisation need to be maintained in all areas across healthcare facilities, special protocols of wearing PPE suits, masks, gloves etc are to be maintained by facility and steward staff attending critical patients, such as the ones that have undergone bone marrow transplants or are Covid-positive, who are kept in isolation due to high risk of infections.
Areas like operation theatres, laboratories, ICUs are critical areas that require continuous disinfection treatment ensuring not only the unit areas, but the equipment and supplies are also properly sterilised to eliminate any kind of infection and contamination that could have life-threatening impact on patients.
As there is an increasing focus on improving healthcare to ensure higher quality, greater access, and better value for money, the nature of facility service demands constant skilling and training to ensure that the facility team not only meets the expected standards of cleanliness but is also trained to be compassionate, handling patients and visitors with empathy.
A basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, understanding healthcare infrastructure from critical and non-critical areas, care and cleaning of different surfaces and façade, glossary of terminology used in healthcare setups, basic nursing assistance and patient safety are crucial parts of the overall training curriculum of healthcare facility management. Focus on soft skills such as grooming standards, interpersonal behaviour and empathy are important skills imparted when training in core areas of facility management.
Training in healthcare is given, keeping in mind critical and non-critical areas. Though healthcare facilities are classified as high-risk, even within a hospital, a distinction is made between high-risk critical areas such as ICU, OT, isolation chambers and general wards, and common areas which may be non-critical low risk areas. Training modules are then accordingly imparted, focussing on infection control and prevention, cleaning and sanitisation, biomedical waste, handling vulnerable patients, bedpan assistance, patient positioning, lifting patients from the bed, needle stick injury management, spill management, etc., for critical areas. For non-critical areas, the focus is more on cleaning frequency, chemical dilution, machine & equipment handling, PPE handling, patient movement, waste management etc to name a few.
Improving overall service delivery
In a hospital, non-clinical care is as important as clinical care. Patients visit a hospital for the choice of brand which brings best-in-class doctors, nursing and facility. Facility management, especially the housekeeping team, JDAs and food service, plays a crucial part in the entire ecosystem and acts as a point of referral for people seeking medical assistance.
Constant and continuous training ensures improvement of staff productivity and efficiency with less or no errors.
During the pandemic, we have joined hands with some of the most reputed accreditation bodies to train our onsite staff deployed in large campuses, corporates and industries to be basic first emergency medical responder, which has received a lot of appreciation from our clients.