How to employ proper cleaning techniques to keep your facility safe and improve census

Proper cleaning is vital to your current and future residents and staff. When a prospective resident is looking for a facility to call home, there is nothing more off-putting than spotting the tell-tale signs of poor housekeeping. The presence of dirt and grime in a long-term care facility is not just an embarrassing turn-off, but a serious matter that can land your facility in hot water with surveyors and health inspectors.

Much worse, poor cleaning and environmental upkeep can put residents in danger. Many residents in long-term care have poor or compromised health, which makes them and their immune systems vulnerable to the presence of germs, bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19. Exposure to an unclean or poorly disinfected environment could put them at risk for preventable illnesses and diseases.

Two years of the pandemic and the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants have highlighted the need for strong infection prevention and control programs in nursing homes. Even as nursing homes resume normal practices, they must sustain infection prevention and control core practices. In addition to remaining vigilant for COVID-19 infection among residents and staff, thorough cleaning and disinfection are necessary to prevent the virus’s spread and protect residents and staff from severe infections, hospitalizations and death.

Clean surfaces important

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance on environmental infection control and cleaning of some common items in healthcare facilities. For common surfaces such as over-bed tables, counters and beds, the CDC advises cleaning on a regular basis in addition to when these surfaces are soiled. Spills should be cleaned up immediately and the items should be cleaned between residents and after discharges. Finally, these types of items should always be cleaned with an EPA-registered disinfectant/detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Toilets are a common item that can also be tremendous a source of dirt and germs. According to the CDC, they should be regularly cleaned on a schedule as well as when they are soiled. Toilets should also be cleaned between residents and after discharges.

Top to bottom cleaning

A good top to bottom cleaning should include floors and wall items. The CDC’s guidance states that items such as walls, blinds and curtains should be cleaned when dusty or soiled. Floors should be regularly cleaned with an EPA-registered disinfectant/detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. They should also be cleaned when soiled as well as between residents and after discharges.

Blood and blood spills should be cleaned up with disposable towels followed by disinfecting with an intermediate-level germicide or EPA-registered germicide from EPA List D or E. Carpets and upholstery should be regularly vacuumed and shampooed and vacuums should have HEPA filters. Carpet that is continually damp should be removed within 72 hours. Blood or body substance spills should be cleaned up immediately and if any carpet tiles are contaminated with blood or body fluids, they should be replaced.

COVID-19-positive cleaning

When facilities have COVID-19 infections in their building, the CDC recommends several measures to protect environmental health, including:

  • Using dedicated medical equipment when caring for a resident with suspected or confirmed infection.
  • All non-dedicated, non-disposable medical equipment used for that resident should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instructions and facility policies before use on another patient.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings.
  • Refer to List N on the EPA website for EPA-registered disinfectants that kill SARS-CoV-2.
Let us help

Let Supply360 help you take the worry out of infection control. Supply360 has quality, affordably-priced EPA-listed cleaning products, hand sanitizers, soaps, dispensers and PPE for all your needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your staff and those you serve. Stay up-to-date with our latest discounts and special offers by following us on Facebook.