Cleanliness and hygiene in hospitals largely depend on the proper management of three factors – manpower, machines and waste. As a practice, many hospitals outsource manpower besides employing in-house staff. At Fortis Noida, though manpower for housekeeping and F&B is outsourced, the OPD and operation theatre areas are looked after by the in-house staff only. High standards are expected from the workers of a healthcare facility. We need to be cautious about the health of our patients so we are always on the look out for good facility management personnel.
While engaging a FM service provider, it is necessary to enter into a proper agreement considering the various cleaning practices that should be adhered to. It is mandatory to conduct health checks on the staff in charge of food handling and housekeeping and on ward boys and cleaning staff. While supervision of both in-house and outsourced staff is important, training is equally essential. Training is given by the hospital, medical department & infection control nurses and it covers bio-medical handling of waste & hand hygiene. Hand sanitizers are located at appropriate locations and washing areas are properly defined.
We are very particular about the hospital linen being washed hygienically. We have specified the quality and the process to be followed. We pay monthly visits to our vendor as defined in our SOP and ensure that the vendor staff also follows hygiene practices. It’s difficult to get skilled labour, especially in UP. On top of that retention is a big challenge. As an organisation, we try and do our bit by giving out awards, giving them recognition by declaring them champions of a particular area on a weekly basis, hoping that these things would compel them to stay back.
At Fortis, we practise mechanised cleaning and we find scrubbing machines and steam cleaners particularly effective. However, I feel the downtime of the machines needs to be defined. Being in healthcare, we want immediate response from our vendors.
It is not just enough to colour code bins, it is equally important to colour code equipment as well to avoid cross contamination. We have separate machines for critical areas and other areas. We’ve colour coded them – we have coloured the top part of the machines ourselves. In-Patient Department (IPD) areas where patient’s stay have a different colour machine, ICU’s have red and public areas may be green. This is a big initiative that we have taken at Fortis.
As for managing waste, we have a system in place. SembRamky, Gaziabad, handles the waste. The role of the housekeeping department is limited to directing the waste from the source to the central storage area.