Keeping it Clean!
Cleaning and disinfecting
Most of our staff in at Personal Senior Care Homes are considered “universal workers” and are responsible for the cleaning and disinfection of residents’ units in addition to caring for our residents. Staff have responsibilities that are scheduled on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Some residents may want to use their own cleaning agents, and this is allowed as long as staff is informed about these products and the manager approves them.
The home has a written schedule for housekeeping and maintenance tasks. Cleaning and maintenance chemicals used in the homes falls under the rules of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is very specific in these regulations, which are highlighted in the following sections.
Hazardous chemical program
All administrators must be aware that where chemicals are used, it is necessary to institute a hazardous chemical program. A hazardous chemical program must follow, at a minimum, the following guidelines:
1. All chemicals (e.g., cleaning compounds, drain openers, dishwashing chemicals) that are used by the facility staff must be appropriately labeled and must have a safety data sheet (SDS) located near where the chemical is stored. Manufacturers and suppliers of chemicals must provide an SDS for each chemical they make or supply.
2. No chemicals may be used in the facility that are in unlabeled containers, or that do not have an SDS on file. Staff must not bring in their favorite cleaner to use in the facility. If the cleaner is to be used, it must meet the requirements above.
3. All staff who use chemicals must be trained in their use and must be informed of hazards and how to protect themselves from injury.
4. The employer must maintain records to show that he or she has provided the required training on the handling of hazardous chemicals.
Personal Senior Care Homes staff is tasked with numerous responsibilities, ranging from care for residents to keeping main living areas and individual units clean.
Establishing cleaning schedules also honors senior living facilities’ philosophy of care, which includes the following concepts:
• Choice: One resident may want her area cleaned three times a week while the resident next door only wants his linens changed once a week, nothing more. Cleaning schedules need to take what the resident wants into consideration.
• Independence: If a resident doesn’t want housekeeping services but asks to borrow the vacuum because he or she wants to remain as independent as possible, this should be accommodated.
• Privacy: Before entering a residents area to clean, staff should knock, inform the resident and ask permission to come in so they don’t startle the resident or invade his or her privacy.
• Individuality and dignity: Adherence to these various cleaning schedules contributes to each resident’s sense of dignity by allowing them to maintain choice, independence, and privacy.
• This is a homelike environment: Policies and procedures need to be established that address all areas of the home to create an overall homelike environment that reaches beyond the residents personal area. unit. Areas to address include the dining area, tables and floors, living rooms, arts and crafts rooms, bathrooms, etc.
Keep in mind that schedules are guidelines and may change. This is especially true in at Personal Senior Care Homes. While it is important to keep on schedule, it is just as important to be flexible and willing to work with unplanned situations that may arise. The main goal is to serve the needs and preferences of the residents. When their situations and preferences change, understand the cleaning schedule may be affected.
There are no set rules for how to clean. Usually cleaning tasks are prioritized, with the most soiled area being attended to first and the cleaner areas being attended to last. The best approach to cleaning is one which is efficient and makes sense to you. Staff members need to plan to spend about 15–20 minutes in each area for daily cleaning. Once the resident’s area is finished, staff should wash their hands and continue on to the next area. Gloves should be worn while cleaning, and hands should be washed prior to putting on gloves and after taking off gloves.
OSHA expects senior living facilities to have written cleaning schedules. Facilities should have policies and procedures that discuss:
• The process of cleaning bathrooms
• How to handle laundry bins
• How to handle buckets for mopping and washing floors
• How to handle trash
• Laundry processes and equipment maintenance
Cleaning equipment requires attention to avoid cross-transmission of microorganisms and proliferation of microorganisms in dirty environments. The following precautions should be taken when dealing with cleaning equipment:
• Tools and equipment used for cleaning and disinfection must be cleaned and dried between uses (e.g., mops, buckets, rags)
• Mopheads should be laundered or changed after each use. All washed mopheads must be dried thoroughly before storage
• Cleaning equipment shall be well maintained, clean, and in good repair
Cleaning carts should:
• Have a separation between clean and soiled items
• Never contain personal clothing or grooming supplies, food, or beverages
• Be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day
• Be equipped with a locked compartment for storage of hazardous substances. Dangerous chemicals should be locked at all times when not attended
Equipment used to clean toilets should:
• Not be carried from room to room
• Be discarded when the resident leaves and as required
• Minimize splashing
• Stored well in a clean and sanitary environment
Mopheads should be:
• Laundered or changed
• Dried thoroughly before storage
• Stored up when cleaned
• Stored down when dirty
Soiled utility rooms/workrooms
A soiled utility room/workroom should:
• Be readily available and designed to minimize the distance from point-of-care
• Have a work counter and clinical sink (or equivalent flushing-rim fixture) with a hot and cold mixing faucet
• Have a dedicated handwashing sink with both hot and cold running water
• Have adequate space to permit the use of equipment required for the disposal of waste
• Have PPE available to protect staff during cleaning and disinfecting procedures
• Be adequately sized within the unit and for the tasks required
• Be physically separate from other areas, including clean supply/storage areas
If a soiled utility room is used only for temporary holding of soiled materials, the work counter and clinical sink is not required; however, facilities for cleaning bedpans must be provided elsewhere.
Soiled utility rooms/workrooms should not be used to store unused equipment.
Cleaning supply rooms
Should be equipped with a room/area that is used to store cleaning supplies and equipment. A cleaning supply room/area should be:
• Separate from soiled workrooms or soiled holding areas
• Able to keep supplies free from dust and moisture
• Adjacent to usage areas and easily available to staff
• Equipped with a work counter and a dedicated handwashing sink if used for preparing resident care items
• Readily available to care for each resident
Housekeeping rooms/closets should:
• Not be used for other purposes
• Be maintained in accordance with good hygiene practices
• Have eye protection available
• Have an appropriate water supply and a sink/floor drain
• Be well ventilated and suitably lit
• Have locks fitted to all doors
• Be easily accessible to the area
• Be appropriately sized to the equipment used in the room
• Not contain personal supplies, food, or beverages
• Have safe chemical storage and access
• Be free from clutter
• Be ergonomically designed
Cleaning agents and disinfectants
The following are recommendations for dealing with cleaning agents and disinfectants:
• Cleaning agents and disinfectants should be labeled with identifying information
• Cleaning agents and disinfectants should be stored in a safe manner in storage rooms or closets
• Automated dispensing systems are preferred over manual dilution and mixing, because they are monitored regularly for accurate calibration
• Disinfectants should be dispensed into clean, dry, appropriately-sized bottles that are clearly labeled and dated—not topped up—and discarded after the expiry date
Cleaning and disinfection equipment should be:
• Well maintained
• In good repair
• Cleaned and dried between uses
Personal Senior Care Homes have had the profound pleasure to have resident’s families say to us the environment we provide is clean and fresh! We have also had them say to us “mom smells so good since she came here”. This is because we provide a clean healthy environment and we take care of the resident and our homes! Please to learn more join me for a tour! Stephen Brock 513-870-9228.