Environmental Cleaning In Healthcare Facilities

Hospital Cleaning Isn’t For The Faint Of Heart

A highly specialized area of expertise, hospital cleaning takes hard work, dedication, and a depth of knowledge uncommon in the cleaning industries in Auckland. Dealing with blood spills, hazardous waste, and mopping with an underlying focus on microorganisms and germs to be eradicated takes guts. Cleaners and medical cleaning services are generally well-versed in best practices and protocols. They constantly educate themselves on new technology, better practices, and risks previously not encountered.

New entrants to this market- from cleaners to medical cleaning services must keep themselves abreast of current developments and practices. The CDC’s publication. best practices for environmental cleaning procedures and programs in healthcare facilities in resource-limited settings is a comprehensive guide, not limited to cleaning and disinfection. Their best practices are a reflection of those in high-resource hospital settings in several English-speaking countries such as the USA, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and Australia. The three basic areas covered are:

1. Environmental transmission of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs):  for example, rooms or units where environmental surfaces within the reach of an infected patient are frequently touched, or the patient has come into direct physical contact with bed rails, furniture, and other surfaces.

2. Environmental cleaning in healthcare facilities and In-place cleaning (IPC): addresses the built environment, materials, and equipment.

3. Environmental cleaning and disinfection, where water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure: sets out to ensure adequate water supply and sanitation infrastructure (e.g., safe wastewater disposal). Without these, environmental cleaning best practices can be compromised.

Hospitals have many surfaces that can be touched by infected patients- and must be cleaned appropriately

Key to building a best practices tool kit is finding hospital cleaning staff. It is cleaners who will be tasked with keeping the hospital clean by following best practice procedures. This requires recruiting and training specialized staff who can meet the stringent job specifications in the healthcare setting. Not every cleaner has the aptitude. CleaningNZ simplifies finding healthcare cleaners by offering a platform to browse available hospital cleaners looking for a medical cleaning job, or curate and post a job ad in the cleaning industries in Auckland geared towards the skills required.

Hospital Cleaning Staff levels

An effective environmental healthcare cleaning and disinfecting program need sufficient staff. Generally, this is based on

  • The number of patient beds
  • Average occupancy level
  • The type of cleaning and disinfecting required (e.g. routine or terminal)
  • Patient care area category (e.g., surgery, ICUs, or general wards)

This can be established through research, or with insight into historical staffing levels.

What Skills Does a Cleaner at a Hospital Need?

Hospital cleaning has many diverse levels that cover various areas- from waiting rooms to theatres, treatment areas, wards, and passages. All have their own best practices which cover an array of skills. Cleaning skills differ according to the type of cleaning- as each requires its own expertise. These could include :

  • Commercial cleaning such as mopping, floor polishing, taking out the trash and operating cleaning equipment
  • Housekeeping includes changing linen and ensuring a clean and neat patient area
  • Spills of blood and other bodily fluids are common in hospitals and need special attention- for the safety of the cleaner, medical staff, and visitors
  • Waste: Sharps and human tissue are things that will be encountered that need specific disposal processes

Hospital cleaners in Auckland offer specialized cleaning skills and more. But finding cleaners that are a good match is imperative, as the recruitment and training costs can be prohibitively expensive. At CleaningNZ we can help.

Hospital cleaning staff appointments

When appointing cleaners, medical cleaning services should write job descriptions that include:

  • A clearly written medical cleaning job description
  • An outline of structured, and targeted training (e.g., pre-employment, when new equipment is introduced, or periodical)
  • Specific definitions of performance standards or competencies
  • Protocols to access an on-site supervisor

Education and Training for Hospital Cleaners in Auckland

Training for cleaning staff should be compulsory and should occur before cleaners work independently at a health care facility. Accredited training institutes or trainers offer specialized courses. The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology offers certificate courses, but specialized trainers may have to be sourced. Content should at least include:

  • Principles of IPC, such as
    • transmission of pathogens
    • the essential part cleaners have in keeping patients, staff, and visitors safe
    • Protecting themselves from pathogens
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfecting tasks that will be part of their job specification
  • Using detergents, disinfectants, and cleaning solutions safely
  • Preparation, use, storage, and disposal of cleaning supplies and equipment (including PPE)
  • Induction or orientation programs for the hospital where they are deployed
  • Health and safety aspects

Medical cleaning services should make provision for this expense when quoting or establishing whether the hospital has an in-house training program.

Medical cleaners need training to reduce risks associated with blood spills

Environmental Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities: Supplies and Equipment

Supplies and equipment mean cleaning and disinfectant products, reusable or disposable items, and PPE used by cleaning staff. Products used in healthcare environmental cleaning should be specifically selected for the environment. Their characteristics should include factors such as:

  • Nontoxic
  • Easy to use
  • Acceptable odor
  • Soluble in water

Other properties to look out for are environmental friendliness, broad-spectrum antimicrobial ingredients, and fast-acting. When dealing with blood and other environmental cleaning in healthcare facilities, equipment must be geared up to meet the demands.

Training will be required, For example types and usage of cloths differs from standard usage, and mops and other equipment cannot simply be used as they usually are. After use, they contain microbes and other hazards and must be cleaned and stored according to specific protocols.

Best Practices

Working in a healthcare environment is limited to those with the training, skills, and willingness to deal with cleaning and disinfection issues rarely encountered elsewhere. Being on the frontline of keeping healthcare facilities safe and hygienic is challenging- complicated by facing sights daily that would make others faint.

Ensuring that best practices are kept current, and good communication is maintained, the right hospital cleaners will brave environmental cleaning if there are minimal risks to their own safety. But education and aptitude for the sometimes messy healthcare environment are key. As is finding these gems.

TAKEAWAYS: Environmental Cleaning In Healthcare Facilities involves implementing best practices and protocols that suit the environment. In sourcing medical cleaning staff, important aspects are:

  • Hospital cleaning staff levels
  • Defining the skills a medical cleaner needs
  • Refining hospital cleaning staff appointment processes
  • Providing education and training periodically
  • Procuring appropriate supplies and equipment