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How to make the standard for cleaning and disinfection automatic and routine

It’s about efficacy, efficiency and safety.

EVS cleaning as standard automatic and routine

<50%

of healthcare room surfaces are adequately cleaned and disinfected, studies show1

This kind of statistic isn’t lost on Environmental Services (EVS) directors and managers, who are tasked with keeping healthcare facilities—from common areas to patient and resident rooms—clean and disinfected to reduce the spread of harmful infection-causing pathogens.

Also on their minds, however, are any number of challenges getting in the way of HAI prevention and reduction in their facilities:

EVS room turnover rates

Pressure to turn rooms more quickly, making it difficult to acceptably clean and disinfect the care environment.

understaffed EVS department

Understaffed and underbudgeted EVS departments, where staff turnover averages 40 to 50 percent, requiring continuous training of new hires—many of whom speak English only as a second language.

Environment of Care Education

Limited staff knowledge about the environment of care and their role in preventing infection and cross contamination—it’s one of the three zones in the healthcare facility where harmful pathogens can be transmitted on surfaces, in the air and water.

Lack of an industry practice standard when it comes to proper cleaning and disinfection protocols, including the most suitable technologies and products for usage.

Still, there are ways to set a standard for cleaning and disinfection to keep HAIs down in your facility that workers will realistically incorporate into their practices and routines—through products and processes that are designed for efficacy, efficiency and safety.

10 things to consider:

training frontline EVS staff

1. In general, adopt processes and choose products that are evidence-based, designed specifically for healthcare and safe for EVS frontline workers to use.

mock room for EVS training

2. Implement a clean-by-sequence process that effectively addresses the high-touch surfaces recognized by the CDC that are most vulnerable to the spread of pathogens.

Microfiber Clean by Sequencebooklet

3. Use numbered microfiber booklets to ensure the use of a separate color-coded cloth for each surface and that no surface is missed.

Suite of Disinfectants

4. Pick a simple suite of disinfectants that are safe and easy for EVS frontline workers to use.

contact time

5. Make sure your team understands “contact time” (the length of time a disinfectant must stay wet on a surface in order to ensure efficacy) and consider a disinfectant with a 3-minute contact time that takes fewer applications.

multiplying pathogens

6. Remind your team how pathogens multiply—one microorganism replicates to more than 1 million in 10 to 12 hours—and equip them with a disinfectant that has a high log reduction (the percent of pathogens killed by a disinfectant on a surface).

high tech disinfecting equipment

7. Improve efficiency by investing in UV disinfection devices that do not require workers to operate. These can kill up to 99.99% of harmful airborne and surface pathogens that may still survive traditional methods of cleaning and disinfection.

validation tools

8. Establish a surface validation program and use cleaning validation tools, such as Medline’s ATP testing to monitor and measure cleanliness levels in your facility.

recognition program icon

9. Demonstrate to EVS workers that their team and the work they do is important and valued by equipping them with up-to-date technologies and products that not only effectively clean and disinfect but are also safe and easy to use. Acknowledge the pride they take in their work by providing them with high-end housekeeping carts and uniforms if they don’t already have them.

Vendor training tools

10. Take advantage of available resources designed to increase EVS workers’ frontline skills and further drive efficacy, efficiency and safety. These include online and in-person training, recognition and certification, and tools and signage.

Key takeaway

To set a standard for cleaning and disinfection that’s automatic and routine, establish an environmental protection program that emphasizes people, process and products to prevent and reduce HAIs and keep everyone in your facility safe. Consider an offering that includes:

  • Best-practice guidance
  • Staff education and training
  • A system of products that’s evidence-based and supports best practices

References:

  1. Just because you are using a disinfectant, doesn’t mean you are disinfecting: The business case for improving infection prevention. Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/just-because-you-are-using-a-disinfectant-doesn-tmean-you-are-disinfecting-the-business-case-for-improving-infection-prevention.html.
ENVIRONMENTAL DISINFECTION PROGRAM

Clean high-touch surfaces more easily

Improve compliance and minimize cross contamination with reusable Clean by Sequence Microfiber Booklets.

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