8 Smart & Simple Cleaning Tips for Long-Term Care
There are many facets of an efficient and effective cleaning program in a long-term care facility, including cleaning, disinfecting, infection prevention, and creating a "just like home" environment. Providing a safe and clean living space can be challenging, but the right processes in place allow administrators and housekeeping staff to maintain a hygienic facility for patients, residents, and guests. With that in mind, follow our smart and simple cleaning tips to maximize your cleaning program and help provide a comfortable environment for residents:
1) Cleaning vs. Disinfecting: Know the Difference!
Many professional cleaners are unaware of the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Make sure housekeeping and nursing staff know the distinction between the two. To help achieve the best results in a long-term care environment, look for professional multipurpose cleaning products that feature hospital-grade disinfectants, which have been formulated to simultaneously remove a broad range of target soils and disinfect.
2) Create Cleaning Protocols & Checklists
Educate staff on cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and make sure they have been trained on areas to clean and how to do it correctly. Create a checklist that accounts for high-touch areas in the facility, including restrooms, hard floors, and carpeted areas, to ensure surfaces are consistently and properly cleaned and disinfected. A checklist inspection sheet helps ensure that every task is completed each and every time.
3) Proper Dwell Time: Read Labels!
Whether using a multipurpose product or a stand-alone disinfectant, the solution must be left on surfaces as indicated on the label instructions in order to be most effective. Cleaning professionals should avoid simply spraying and wiping, and should instead read and follow label instructions carefully for all brands.
4) Clean & Sanitize to Prevent Cross-Contamination
Cleaning tools, such as scouring pads, brushes, mops, and scrapers can be sources of cross-contamination. Put procedures into place to properly clean and sanitize tools regularly. Use color-coded microfiber products to improve cleaning efficacy and prevent cross-contamination. Also, remember to thoroughly clean and disinfect high-touch areas that can spread germs further.
5) The Dirt on Restroom Sanitation
Since restrooms can harbor many different types of germs, it is critical that they are cleaned regularly and correctly to maintain a clean appearance and remain odor-free. These small but tough-to-clean areas contain a dozen or more highly touched objects, such as door handles, toilet seats, urinals, faucets, sinks, flushing levers, counters, partitions, soap and paper dispensers, and more.
6) Just Like Home: Laundering for Hygiene & Comfort
Linens, towels, and garments washed in highly effective detergents from trusted brands that consumers have used in their homes for decades can also be comforting and reassuring to guests who may be dealing with serious health issues. Be sure to choose a laundry system that produces familiar softness and freshness on fabric to help create a home-like environment for consumers while they are away from home.
7) Infection Prevention
The CDC reports that nearly two-thirds of all norovirus outbreaks reported in the United States occur in long-term care facilities. To prevent the spread of these and other germs, staff should regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and areas with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant. Product labels should indicate which bacteria and viruses a disinfectant or multipurpose product is effective against. Also, frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to fight against the spread of viruses and bacteria. Post signage in the facility to remind staff, patients, and visitors to do so.
8) Exceed Patient & Visitor Expectations
Patients expect to live in a clean environment and guests expect to enter one when they visit their loved ones. Patients, guests, and staff will notice if an area is not properly cleaned, which will lead to customer dissatisfaction. It's always a good idea to proactively ask residents and their guests about how the facility is doing with cleanliness, and when they express room for improvement, act on it.
These simple tips can help ensure an effective and efficient cleaning and disinfecting routine that promotes good patient care and makes the most of valuable staff time and resources.