Hygienic floor cleaning for healthcare settings 1 Apr, 2014
Properly executed floor cleaning regimes can help to reduce the spread of infections in hospitals and other healthcare environments, as Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International, explains.
The spread of infections and viruses can have a significantly negative effect in a number of different locations and settings - such as schools, leisure centres and the workplace - but when an outbreak occurs in a hospital the consequences can be even greater. People visiting or receiving treatment in these environments are already vulnerable to the spread of infection, so making sure that effective cleaning regimes are in place for waiting rooms, corridors, reception areas and wards is key. A clean and welcoming environment is also important from an aesthetic point of view, encouraging feelings of well-being and calm in people who may be anxious or unwell.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) is a term that covers a wide range of infections including MRSA, MSSA, E.coli and C.difficile. HAIs are infections that develop as a direct result of medical or surgical treatment or contact in a healthcare setting. Healthcare providers can help to minimise the risk of cross infection in a number of ways including:
- Having a regular programme of infection control education and training for staff
- Ensuring that infection control practices and standards are being met through a programme of regular checks
Keeping the environment clean
The key to reducing the incidence of HAIs and cross contamination is to keep caring environments cleaned to a standard as near to ultimate hygiene as possible. To attain the stringent standards required in high traffic, high risk areas such as A&E and operating theatres, they need to be cleaned rigorously at least once, sometimes several times per day. The amount of traffic in other areas, such as wards, out-patient clinics and bathrooms will influence how frequently they are cleaned.
Given the physical size of most healthcare settings, and the fact that many operate on a 24-7 basis, floor cleaning machines need to be compact and manoeuvrable to reach into tight corners and fit into smaller areas. They must also be as quiet as possible, especially where cleaning has to be carried out near patients, and safe, both for the machine operator and for other staff and patients. Above all, they have to be capable of doing tasks that are particularly important, like being able to clean under beds and furniture.
A vital first step when looking to purchase new floor cleaning machines is to talk to equipment companies that have a good track record in supplying NHS Trusts and other organisations buying for hospital and healthcare cleaning. Once you’ve made your shortlist, ask each one how many hospital and healthcare sales they have made, and ask for the contact details of health service customers who can be contacted for references. This will provide you with a good background before product demonstrations take place, and help to ensure that your ultimate choice will be the best solution for your healthcare setting.