A spic and span hospital environment (on a both surface and molecular level) is an indisputable must in order to promote patient health, lower Healthcare Acquired Infection (HAIs) rates, keep regulatory agencies such as Joint Commission at bay, and score highly on the “always clean” portion of the HCAHPS survey.
I recently made a purchase of a large ticket item for our hospital’s Environmental Services Department. A brand new 20" battery burnisher sold by a major manufacturer. Although the procurement process went smoothly there have been a few hiccups in obtaining warranty support from the manufacturer. Though the vendor I purchased the burnisher from has been very supportive, this experience reminded me of the importance of doing your proverbial homework before making expensive equipment purchases.
In our last post we talked about the importance of proper cleaning in Environmental Services and how many hospitals are unwittingly doing a poor job of it. In a presentation for the CDC on “The Role of Environmental Cleaning in Preventing HAIs”, Dr. Keith Woeltje of the Washington University School of Medicine cited studies that showed that though most hospital surfaces looked clean, their current cleaning program was not effectively removing pathogens. This negligence has serious implications on patient health, namely that it dramatically increases a patient’s likelihood of acquiring a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI). The primary purpose of his talk, however, was not to point fingers but to provide solutions.
I cannot tell you how many times a day people walk into our office, sniff the air and say, “Wow, it smells really nice and clean in here”. I am always flattered and glad to hear this. We are a janitorial services company after all, so keeping things clean is our bread and butter. However, as nice as it is to hear these compliments, the fact that our office smells pleasantly of “Trade Winds” has almost nothing to do with how clean it actually is. (Another example of this can be seen in Fabreze’s most recent series of commercials.)