One of the most important goals of all medical facilities is to prevent the spread of pathogens to patients. This means medical centers must adhere to strict cleaning practices that optimize overall sanitation and reduce risks for contamination.
Nurses and doctors wash their hands all day long, before and after seeing every patient, but is the rest of the facility as clean as their hands? Hospitals and other medical facilities are thought of as the most sterile places on the planet. Unfortunately, a recent study found that isn’t always the case.
The study comes out of the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Researchers found that 10% of hospital surfaces near patients were contaminated. The most contaminated surfaces of all included supply cart handles, the floors in patient rooms, infusion pumps, ventilator touch pads and even bed rails on patient beds.
Patients often contaminate their own room but with high turn over rates it’s important that these spaces are properly cleaned before the next patient arrives. Which leads us to our next question… are rooms being cleaned with the attention to detail they deserve?
How Clean Is The Average Healthcare Room?
Another study published in the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases by Philip C. Carling, Janet L. Briggs, Jeanette Perkins, and Deborah Highlander, took a look at areas most likely to be ignored during regular cleaning.
The study conducted out of Carney Hospital in Boston applied an easy to clean, non-harmful marker only visible under black light to patient rooms. They then waited and checked back after at least two patients had moved in and out of the rooms to see if any residue was left over. These rooms were cleaned at least 2 separate times since the residue was applied, but it was still present under black light in certain areas.
The cleanest spaces where little to no residue remained included toilets, sinks and countertops. The dirtiest parts of the room where residue remained included toilet handles, bedside tables and worst of all, the bedside telephone.
This same study then held an educational intervention for all environmental services staff. Post-educational conference, the same testing measures were used to see if cleanliness improved. Researchers were pleased to find a great improvement in the cleanliness of patient rooms, including a decrease in residual materials left on telephones and other items previously left laden with residue.
Prior to education the study found that only 47% of surfaces were properly cleaned and after education it was found that over 85% of surfaces were properly cleaned—that’s a huge change!
Read the full study here: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/3/385.full
Guidelines For Maintaining Clean Medical Facilities
-Regularly have soft surfaces (carpets, rugs, furniture, etc.) deep cleaned. Hire a professional company for carpet cleaning services that offer quick dry solutions to reduce down time and improve overall air quality.
-Deep clean outside of the facility including windows, walkways, sidewalks, gutters, the actual building and so forth.
-Deep clean hard surfaces inside of the building including trickier to clean places such as grout.
-Keep entryway matts in place and sanitized as a first line of defense against germs, bacteria, dirt and debris from getting inside of the building.
-Reduce use of water and strong chemicals in order to lessen impact on the environment.
-Make sure that any microfiber is properly laundered at a temperature that will kill bacteria without causing deterioration and is in compliance with OSHA standard 1910.1030.
-Educate staff on the dangers of cross-contamination.
-Educate ES workers on how to handle infection control as well as best practices for reducing likelihood of cross-contamination when cleaning patient rooms and other high-risk parts of the building.
The Importance Of A Clean Medical Environment
The take home lesson is simply that hospitals can be even cleaner with the right know-how. Tidy Team doesn’t take cleaning lightly; in fact we have developed proven techniques for ensuring the highest level of clean on every last surface. As a result of your services, your medical facility will be the cleanest it’s ever been.
We offer flexible cleaning plans for medical buildings of all sizes. Let us take care of the deep cleaning so that your staff can focus on helping patients heal and feel better without the heightened risk of further contamination.