Don't compromise healthcare hygiene
13 February 2020
Extensive and thorough cleaning is the best way to keep a hospital facility in the cleanest state, but, argues Craig Boyle from Bagnalls, this can have an impact on the general wear and tear of the building. Find out other ways to keep your healthcare facility as clean as possible and how to combat the depreciation of the building this can cause.
In no other environment is cleanliness and hygiene as important as in healthcare facilities. An unclean or unhygienic hospital environment can be a serious threat to the health of vulnerable patients with compromised immune systems.
The importance of hygiene
It’s imperative to maintain a hygienic environment in healthcare facilities. In areas where patients have weakened immune systems, having a hygienic environment which will not allow the spread of disease within the hospital is essential; even the slightest oversight in hygiene could worsen the health of a vulnerable patient. At the risk of patient health, it’s so important that healthcare centres such as hospitals and nursing homes increase and maintain hygiene within the building.
While good hand hygiene is already in place among doctors, nurses and other health professionals, patient hand hygiene receives less consideration. Studies have shown that the transfer of micro-organisms between hands within hospitals is a major factor in the spread of disease. Including hand sanitisers and handwashing facilities throughout hospitals and encouraging patients to use them can help reduce the spread of harmful bacteria in these areas. Many brands even manufacture automatic handwash stations, which have a sensor function to dispense anti-bacterial soap. This eliminates the need to touch a pump or button, which would limit the spread of germs and bacteria even more.
In addition to improving the facilities available for hand sanitisation, it is important to improve education on the significance of hygiene and the importance of using these facilities. Putting up posters in hospitals which are easy to read and convey information quickly is a great way to educate people on the importance of maintaining good hygiene in hospitals, especially when these are placed strategically next to wash basins and hand sanitisers.
For NHS facilities, posters such as these are available to download online, ready for you to print and distribute around your facility. For private healthcare facilities, you can make your own, making sure to include all of the information necessary for patients, visitors and staff to thoroughly clean their hands.
A variety of cleaning methods are needed within hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and care homes to assure high levels of hygiene. Cleaning in these environments takes place usually at least once daily through antibacterial cleaning solutions, steam cleaning and mopping; the NHS requirements state that “all surfaces should be visibly clean”. While this is normally carried out through thorough cleaning using detergent and water, sometimes this may not be enough. Heat and chemical disinfectants are necessary for certain cases where greater risk is present.
While regular cleaning using the appropriate solutions is key to maintaining hygiene, this cleaning process can take its toll on a building, and so specialist wall coatings have been developed to withstand rigorous scrubbing and even steam cleaning. These products must be made and applied in a way which can withstand daily cleaning for many years without staining or discolouration - no small feat given the stress these systems are placed under. Ensure these products are being manufactured to high specifications which have been tested thoroughly, and make sure the company installing these is aware of the specific requirements of these products as well as the needs of your healthcare facility.
Including hygiene protection built-in
Many of these wall coatings now not only provide easy-to-clean surfaces, but also are inherently hygienic. These often include silver ion technology, which inhibits the spread of MRSA and E-Coli across the paint surface. These finishes also offer a surface which does not support the growth of mould, further helping hospitals and other health-care centres to create hygienic environments throughout a building. Such coatings are becoming popular in hospitals throughout the country as their benefits become known.
By following the above tips in addition to the required regulations, you can be sure that you’re providing a safe and hygienic environment in your healthcare centre.