Hygiene standards are extremely important to all patients during a hospital stay. Poor hygiene in some medical facilities often means patients come in for one health problem and develop other serious conditions because of poor medical cleaning services or the poor personal hygiene of staff. This is the reason why strict and thorough personal hygiene practices are instituted in the hospital.
Hospital-acquired infections or hospital-associated infections are infections that weren’t present when the patient was admitted but developed during his or her stay. They can lead to serious illness and, in some cases, even death. Healthy patients are more resistant to infection but there are many patients whose resistance is less, specifically the elderly and babies. They are extremely susceptible to such infections. Any other immuno-compromised patients are also at a high risk of contracting a hospital-associated infection.
Consequences of Poor Hygiene
Inadequate or incorrect medical cleaning services and/or poor personal hygiene by staff could result in germs, parasites, and diseases being spread with the following consequences:
- Colds and flu
- Hepatitis A
- Food poisoning
- Skin infections
- Scabies infection
- Pediculosis (head lice)
- Threadworm infection
- Hookworm infection
- Roundworm infection (strongyloides)
These are just some of the more common issues — many more severe illnesses and infections can be spread because of poor hygiene.
Hospital hygiene, as we have already mentioned, is dependent on two main factors: the physical hygiene and cleanliness of the hospital and the personal hygiene of the health care workers. A reputable, suitably trained, and experienced cleaning service should be used to guarantee all parts of the hospital are up to the highest cleaning standard. Something that a cleaning service cannot guarantee, however, is that the staff is responsible for their own personal hygiene. Both should be monitored and inspected regularly by hospital management to ensure the highest standards. This will reduce the spread of germs, disease, and infections that could lead to hospital-associated infections.
All people should practice good personal hygiene, but it is obviously of importance to hospital staff and health care workers. They have a responsibility to their profession and their patients to maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene.
There are several critical aspects of personal hygiene. The single most important one, however, must be regular and correct handwashing. This needs to be done often and before each new activity, action or patient contact.
The hands should be washed all over, from the wrists to the fingertips, including the nails. They should be washed with soap under running water while lathering and rubbing vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds. The most common mistake is washing too quickly. The absolute minimum for it to be effective is 20 seconds.
Other important hygiene practices medical personnel or healthcare workers should practice include:
- Clean uniforms
- Bath or shower before every shift
- Keep fingernails short and clean
- Brushing teeth
New technologies are emerging that will monitor and measure hygiene levels in various parts of the hospital, including the staff. This will immediately alert management to any issues or potential concern, and corrective action can be taken.
For now, the best form of control is through regular inspection and direct observation. Any poor practices or lapses in cleanliness and hygiene need to be dealt with swiftly and monitored to ensure they do not happen again.
All parts of the building need to always be perfectly clean and hygienic. The best way to achieve this is to work with a professional cleaning company that has experience in medical cleaning services. Hospital janitorial services require specific training, skill, and experience, and only suitably qualified and experienced companies should be considered for this vital task.
Staff members are trained in infection control, correct hygiene, and the proper cleaning techniques required in hospitals. Close supervision and regular inspections are required to ensure standards are maintained.
Responsibility To Patients
The hospital and its staff obviously have a responsibility to their patients. A patient coming in for one reason should not contract a hospital-associated infection because of poor hygiene, whether it is from a staff member or poor hospital hygiene. This issue needs to be a top priority for hospital management.
The responsibility extends to the professional cleaning company entrusted to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the facility. It needs to ensure that its staff members adhere to best practices at all times.
This takes a dedicated team that has the necessary skills, training, and experience to perform quality medical cleaning services. The cleaning crews need to be properly equipped and have the knowledge to perform their job correctly. Regular supervision and inspections are imperative to ensure standards are maintained.
A detailed cleaning plan should be in place and all cleaning is done according to a schedule and checklist. This will ensure that nothing is overlooked.
Apart from an ethical, professional, and moral obligation to maintain good hygiene and prevent hospital-associated infections, there are also serious legal regulations and requirements. Any breach of these regulations could have devastating consequences for the medical facility. The legal consequences of any negligence or failure to guarantee hygiene standards could have far-reaching consequences.
Most hospitals are run as a business these days and, even if they are not, they still must work according to ever-tightening budgets. A professional cleaning company should not be seen as an expense but as an investment in the future prosperity of the hospital. Some hospitals have acquired a reputation for hospital-associated infections and as a result, people avoid them at all costs. This could lead to a devastating financial loss if not corrected in time and has even lead to the closure of some medical facilities.
To speak to experienced experts in medical cleaning services, give iNX a call. Our staff members have the answers to your hospital hygiene issues.