The Flu Is Raging This Season, And That’s Not All
This year is proving to be an especially virulent influenza season. Fortune magazine reported that according to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu is killing up to 4,000 people each week. “We have a lot to learn still about influenza. It’s a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard,” said Anne Schuchat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director. But even beyond this year’s super flu, there are so many disease causing bacteria and viruses that lurk around just waiting to make people sick. Of course, medical facilities have a higher risk because of a recurrent influx of sick people. The risk of the flu and superbugs seems to be growing and growing with a host of frightening acronyms like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), C. difficile, Ebola and more.
For instance, the frequency of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been on the rise in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities. Cases of C. difficile have been increasingly severe with further complications, deaths, and increased cost. The arrival of a hyper virulent strain of C. difficile and the rise in community-acquired C. difficile among healthy patients in the absence of traditional risk factors shows there is a new epidemiology that requires a change in how we do things. When patients require medical care, they understand there are real risks involved, there are also imagined fears that can further scare them and even distort their perception of the quality of care being provided. Cleanliness in your medical facility can both present a real risk to patients as well as set the stage for escalated concern about treatments and procedures. Think about it, if you are scheduled for an outpatient surgery and you come into the facility only to see old coffee stains on waiting area tables, full trashes and dirty bathrooms, how confident are you going to be feeling about the overall cleanliness of the rest of the facility?
Superbugs & Medical Cleaning, What Matters Most?
Current research tells us that we have cleaning products and methods that are effective in reducing the bacteria, fungi, viruses and more, all of which reduce the likelihood of disease transmission. But in order for these products and methods to be effective, they must be used correctly. We know what products work and how to use them most effectively, but if your medical cleaning companies front line cleaners are not sufficiently trained on how to use their products and methods, the result will vary and often leave much more room for disease-producing germs to spread throughout your facility fast.
Products that recommend dwell times and orders of steps have instructions that have been created to make these products most effective. Similarly, touch points and hot spots are a critical component of cleaning for health. You need a hospital cleaning service that trains medical cleaners to get you and your facility the best results for a clean and safe environment. So what matters most when it comes to medical cleaning services and health care cleaning? Essentially, it is the training of the people carrying out the cleaning. Unfortunately, not every medical cleaning company does what is needed to assure their teams are adequately trained in both the specifics of medical office cleaning services and the multitude of cleaning products they use to keep your health care facilities clean and safe. Even the best disinfectants, surfactants, fungicides, virucides and bactericides are significantly reduced in efficacy if used improperly. Hospital cleaning companies and medical office cleaning companies that do not sufficiently train their people are frankly not giving them the tools and knowledge to do their best in your facility, safeguarding patient health and the your facility’s reputation.
Don’t Let Your Medical Cleaning Company Put You At Risk
We understand that physicians and clinicians vary in terms of aptitude, effectiveness and overall care. Similarly, medical janitorial services vary with their ability to properly clean and maintain your facility. Many, many janitorial companies WANT your business but really, only a select few commercial cleaning companies are truly prepared to deliver a high level of cleaning in a healthcare setting. If you are evaluating your current medical cleaning company or considering alternatives, consider the following:
- Does the cleaning company actually understand the requirements of medical cleaning?
- Do they understand regulations and compliance issues connected to medical cleaning?
- Are they aware of how their work cleaning and maintaining your facility contributes to HCAHPS scores?
- Do they understand the science behind cleaning, the concept of dwell times and touch points?
- Is their employee training program detailed, observable and offered for both general cleaning, medical cleaning and products and equipment?
- Do they provide employees with safety compliance training for OSHA, HIPPA, & Blood borne Pathogens?
- Do they have a green cleaning program to employ biodegradable, low allergenic, and non-toxic products where possible?
- Do they hold current industry certifications like the ISSA’s CIMS?
Find the Right Medical Cleaning Company & Get the Protection You Need
The right medical cleaning company will not eliminate every risk related to HAIs, superbugs, influenza, C. difficile and more, but they can help you mitigate risk, reduce the likelihood of disease transmission and give your patients and providers an overall sense that your facility is clean, well maintained and healthy. The healthcare cleaning companies that have devoted time and resources into understanding your specific business and structuring their employee training and processes around the unique needs of the medical community will be excited to offer their partnership, knowledge and expertise in the service of your facility. Much like in medicine, there are specialists and generalists and really, when it comes to medical cleaning you need a specialist. Medical cleaning companies that want your business must be able to backup their assertions of great healthcare cleaning services with solid references, documented training and verifiable systems and processes that lead to measurable improvements in service delivery. Find the right medical cleaning company to partner with and so many facets of your operations and success become easier.