Patient safety and health is the number one goal of any healthcare facility cleaning program. The CDC maintains strict guidelines for the cleaning and maintenance of all environmental surfaces within a hospital or long-term healthcare facility to prevent the spread of disease and airborne contaminants. The following floor cleaning tips can help you stay compliant and keep patients, staff, and maintenance professionals safe.
1. Be sure environmental services staff wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against direct skin and mucous membrane exposure of cleaning chemicals, contamination, and splashes or spatters during environmental cleaning and disinfection activities. If reusable heavy-duty gloves are used for cleaning and disinfecting, they should be disinfected and kept in the room or anteroom. Be sure staff are instructed in the proper use of personal protective equipment, including safe removal, to prevent contaminating themselves or others in the process, and that contaminated equipment is disposed of appropriately.
2. Clean spills immediately with sorbents and absorption kits, ensuring that bloodborne pathogens are thoroughly removed and surfaces sanitized using OSHA-compliant kits. Use visual markers like signs, tapes, and barriers to alert occupants to wet floors and potential health hazards, and ensure floors are fully dry prior to sign or barrier removal to prevent slips and falls.
3. Use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered hospital disinfectant in high-risk areas with a label claim for a non-enveloped virus (norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) to disinfect floors and other surfaces, and follow a single-use cleaning protocol, using disposable dust and wet mop heads in rooms containing patients under investigation for contagious infections. Choose low-VOC neutral floor cleaners and microfiber dust and wet mops in lobbies, hallways, and lower-risk common areas to control airborne particulates and promote healthy indoor air quality. Change reusable mop heads daily, and launder with germicidal detergent or bleach.
4. Choose vacuums equipped with HEPA filters, and replace vacuum bags frequently to ensure dirt and particulates are fully removed from carpeted areas and entry mats. Periodically perform a thorough, deep cleaning of carpeting, using a method that minimizes the production of aerosols and leaves little or no residue. Allow ample dry time to prevent fungi.
5. When selecting floor cleaning equipment, keep patients’ and long-term healthcare residents’ comfort in mind. Choose low-decibel floor machines and vacuums with dBA ratings under 70 to keep noise levels to a minimum, and implement a strong preventative and daily cleaning protocol for hard floors and carpet to extend time between deep cleanings.