Specialist cleaning within workplaces is challenging, not only because of the complex nature of the task at hand, but also because of the need to keep disruption to a minimum. All services need to be adequately resourced and clearly defined through a strategic cleaning plan.
While cleaning schedules and routines need to be put in place, it is vital that it does not affect service delivery or result in any disturbances. The risks of cross-contamination from people sharing contact points are huge and these can normally be reduced by having areas ready for use as soon as possible.
Regularity is key
Employees are up against an unending battle to keep surfaces clean. The sheer number of staff, visitors and surfaces in an office environment means an unenviable task to limit cross contamination. Ensuring public areas are regularly sanitised will have a big influence on the numbers of infections acquired within any unit. Sanitising should be undertaken as soon as a known infection is presented by an employee or a visitor, and if that person is known to have inhabited a certain area, then that area should always be sanitised prior to re-use. Best results are achieved through a combination of daily cleaning and infection control, backed up with regular sanitisation by specialist service providers. When these actions are not carried out it is very easy for bacterium such as staphylococcus aureus to be picked up and spread from person to person, hand to mouth, and to other surfaces. This type of bacterium is responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans and can have a devastating effect on an individual.
Why good hand hygiene is critical
Along with meticulous cleaning regimes, good hand hygiene is also critical in preventing cross contamination between people. Providing adequate hand washing and hand drying facilities is crucial, as is providing hand sanitisers for people to use outside the washroom environment. People can carry around all manner of illness and vomit inducing bacteria's on their hands, so good hand hygiene standards are vital if infectious organisms are not to be left on shared contact areas where they would present an infection or contamination risk for other users. In 2005, the Department of Health funded a 'Clean your Hands' campaign, raising awareness of hand hygiene in hospitals. A study recent published by the BMJ showed that the amount of soap and hand gel being used since the campaign has tripled, and rates of MSRA have halved.
How to combat serious outbreaks
Despite having regular deep cleaning regimes and good hand sanitisation policies, even hospitals are still at risk from infectious outbreaks. This has been evident this past winter, with Norovirus outbreaks closing down some hospital wards and leading others to stop visiting hours in order to prevent further infections. According to the Health Protection Agency, there was a 72% rise in closed hospital wards during winter, causing major disruptions to healthcare services.
To combat such outbreaks, hospitals and healthcare practices need to partner with a specialist cleaning provider who can sanitise areas quickly and efficiently.