In aged care facilities, hygiene and cleanliness are paramount due to the vulnerability of the residents. They are often more susceptible to severe infections due to compromised immune systems and other health issues. The cleanliness of these facilities is not just about maintaining a pleasant environment; it’s a critical aspect of healthcare. Here’s an in-depth look at the best practices in cleaning for aged care facilities.
The Gravity of Cleanliness in Aged Care
Aged care facilities, akin to healthcare settings, require stringent cleaning standards to prevent outbreaks of contagious infections, which can be particularly devastating in these environments. High standards of cleanliness are essential not only for the health of the residents but also for the staff who care for them. Ensuring that these standards are met involves a combination of trained staff, proper equipment, and the right cleaning protocols.
Evaluating and Implementing Cleaning Standards
The evaluation of cleaning standards in aged care facilities is typically overseen by bodies like the Aged Care and Safety Commission. These standards include:
- Regular Cleaning and Disinfecting of Surfaces: Surfaces, being in constant contact with various individuals, can harbor germs and pathogens, necessitating daily cleaning with appropriate detergents.
- Attention to High Touch Surfaces: Items like doorknobs, bed rails, and light switches require more frequent disinfection due to their high usage.
- Floor Cleaning: Floors should be dry mopped to remove dust before washing with detergents, and carpets should be steam cleaned regularly.
- Bathroom Sanitisation: Given the moisture in bathrooms, it’s vital to scrub and sanitise toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers meticulously.
- Waste Management: Regular emptying of waste bins, especially in clinical areas, is crucial to prevent bacteria growth.
- Fluid Spill Management: Establishing procedures for handling spills is important to reduce infection risks.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Staff should practice good hygiene and use appropriate PPE when cleaning.
- Laundry and Linen Cleaning: Linens should be changed regularly, and soiled linens must be handled appropriately.
- Sanitisation of Cleaning Equipment: Ensuring that cleaning tools are sanitised after each use is critical.
- Proper Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of cleaning activities and schedules ensures that tasks are completed as required.
Addressing Specific Challenges in Aged Care Cleaning
The dynamics of aged care facilities, such as residents with dementia or those requiring incontinence care, add layers of complexity to the cleaning process. Addressing these specific needs requires not only a keen understanding of the required standards but also compassion and flexibility.
Best Practices to Avoid Cross-Contamination
Adopting best practices for cleaning in aged care facilities is key to preventing cross-contamination. This includes regular staff training, using the latest cleaning methods and products, implementing a robust system for changing cleaning items, using effective chemicals, and conducting regular internal audits.
In the event of an outbreak, lockdown procedures are crucial. This includes increased cleaning frequency, particularly of touch points, using disposable gloves and other PPE, and adhering to stringent sanitisation protocols with appropriate products.
Signs Your Aged Care Facility Needs a Professional Cleaning Service
Recognising when your aged care facility requires a professional cleaning service is crucial. If there are persistent issues with cleanliness, a rise in infections among residents, or if staff are struggling to maintain the high standards required, it might be time to seek external expertise. Professional cleaners can bring in specialised skills and equipment to manage these challenges effectively, ensuring the health and safety of residents and staff alike.
Ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene in aged care facilities is not just a matter of routine cleaning; it’s about safeguarding the health and wellbeing of a vulnerable population. Through diligent practices, regular training, and adherence to set protocols, facilities can provide a safe and healthy environment for their residents and staff.