Maintenance of any type of facility is important to protect employees and clients from accidents that can cause injury. However, proper maintenance of a medical facility is even more important to prevent the spread of disease-causing agents to vulnerable patients.
Maintenance of a health care facility may begin with hiring staff who understand the risks of cross-contamination and hospital-acquired infections, who realize the importance of observing best practices in cleaning and maintenance, and who are willing to adhere strictly to safety standards. After that, it is a matter of setting the standards that maintenance staff must adhere to and obtaining the proper tools.
1. Make Sure You Have an Adequate Water Heater
Sterilization of instruments and other equipment requires consistently hot water. If yours falls short of accepted standards, you may need to acquire a new unit from a water heater company in Canyon Country. When in doubt, it is better to replace the water heater rather than hope that the water will be hot enough. Sterilization is vitally important to patient safety by preventing the spread of hospital-acquired infections.
2. Obtain the Necessary Personal Protective Equipment
Cleaning staff in other types of facilities typically do not require much in the way of personal protective equipment. However, your cleaning and maintenance staff may come in contact with bodily fluids or items contaminated by pathogens. To keep them safe, you may require them to wear personal protective equipment.
At the very least, this should include rubber gloves, face masks, and a plastic apron. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend additional PPE, including a face shield, gown, goggles, and respirator. Different types of PPE may be required for specific cleaning tasks or in certain patient areas.
3. Set Personal Grooming Standards for Cleaning Staff
Certain grooming habits can pose a risk to cleaning staff by compromising PPE or otherwise putting them at risk. Long fingernails with nail polish, hand jewelry, and wristwatches can all pick up micro-organisms or tear protective gloves. Explain these hazards to your cleaning staff and require them to remove any embellishments before beginning work and to keep fingernails short.
To avoid interference with hand hygiene or glove use, sleeves should extend no further than the elbow. To avoid exposure to dirt, bacteria, or hazardous cleaning materials, as well as to prevent slip-and-fall accidents, cleaning staff should wear closed-toe shoes or boots with rubber soles.
4. Choose Appropriate Cleaning Products
It is important to choose products that are appropriate for the surface being cleaned, such as the floor, tables, or counters. Cleaning products should be disinfectant, i.e., have the ability to kill germs. Understand the difference between disinfectants, sanitizers, detergents, and other cleaning products and teach your cleaning staff which to use under what circumstances.
Because they are already saturated with appropriate disinfectant, prepared wipes can be preferable to cleaning cloths. These should be stored closed so that they do not dry out. Cleaning staff should always check the labels to be sure that they are suitable for the task.
5. Take Care of Cleaning Trolleys and Carts
Cleaning carts and trolleys should be well-stocked at all times. Tell your cleaning staff to replenish them at the beginning of a shift so that they do not have to return for more supplies in the middle. A cleaning cart in use should never be left unattended, and cleaning and disinfecting solutions should be kept in a lockable compartment. Beverages, food, or personal items should never be allowed on a hospital cleaning trolley, and staff should maintain separation between soiled items and clean ones. There should be a designated cleaning service area in which to store carts when not in use.
In addition to these best practices, combined with thorough training of your staff, you should hire cleaning supervisors to perform routine monitoring. These supervisors should provide feedback to the staff as well as report to you on a regular basis.