Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have a reputation to uphold when it comes to cleanliness. If at any point a facility is dirty, it can not only potentially bring on a pest infestation or deter patients from returning, but it can also compromise the care that patients receive.
In order to keep up with the demand of clean spaces, some healthcare facilities have begun outsourcing cleaning services to thirty-party companies. Outsourcing services removes in-house teams from cleaning and laundry, allowing for facilities workers to focus on improving the patient experience. Meanwhile, The in-house infection preventionist’s duties are lessened when an outsourced partner takes on these responsibilities, giving them more time to monitor, audit and maintain infection prevention and control practices.
“With the expectation of a ‘Tripledemic’ (Covid 19, Flu, and RSV), a tight labor market, and increased scrutiny of long-term care facilities, it’s an extraordinary moment to consider outsourcing environmental services,” says David Maw, Business Development Director of 4M Healthcare. “While many in-house staffs are trained to handle day-to-day cleaning and sanitizing, they may be ill-equipped to handle disinfecting with proper Personal Protection Equipment, electrostatic disinfecting care equipment, and chemicals approved for disinfecting.”
Every person that walks into a healthcare facility deserves a clean and sanitary environment. Outsourced environmental service staff should be trusted advisors to the facilities’ team, often times partnering with executives, catering services and in-house cleaning staff. Outsourced teams should be included in regular, on-going and scheduled communications related to advances in technology, equipment and products. Recognizing and sharing opportunities that will help impact the living and working environments will only improve company moral for everyone involved.
“Patient experience is impacted directly by the culture of your cleaning service provider,” says Maw. “In other words, in addition to knowing what their environmental services company is doing, in-house staff should be led to understand how and why specific tools, methods, and activities are used to improve cleanliness and fully disinfect living spaces.”
Having an outsourced environmental services team can also increase the HCAHPS score of a healthcare facility. These outside cleaning teams remain at the forefront of technology, products and practices and delivers proven systematic cleaning processes that almost always contribute to high scores.
“HCAHPS scores allow organizations to compete on patient engagement and satisfaction,” says Maw. “One of the key topics is the cleanliness of the environment. Rooms that are clean, neat and comfortable result in higher satisfaction scores.”
Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor of the facilities market.