Senior care facilities, like hospitals and other medical establishments, require specific cleaning protocols. And while cleanliness is important in all areas of a care facility, there are some areas which are critical to keep clean. These areas, if overlooked, can cause significant problems.
Cleaning senior care facilities is somewhat similar to cleaning daycares and schools, a fact that surprises some people. But why is this? Because unlike office spaces or industrial workplaces, there is a far greater risk of infection or disease in senior care facilities, just like in daycares and schools. Also, residents in senior care facilities often have a weakened immune system, putting them at further risk. Thorough cleaning, especially in key areas, is essential.
Critical touch points to be cleaned in senior care homes include door handles, faucets, food trays, countertops, chairs, tables, light switches, toilet handles, handrails, and elevator buttons, says Phil Carrizales is the director of hygiene and facilities solutions at Acme Paper & Supply Company, Inc.
“These are considered high-touch surfaces and are where high-level germ transmissions can occur more frequently,” Carrizales says.
Also crucial is that staff are trained on how to properly clean and use chemicals. It's also important that staff choose the right products for disinfecting and cleaning their facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a good place to start a search for these products.
“Using EPA-registered multipurpose products designed to clean and disinfect a broad range of pathogens helps limit the chemicals in a facility and allows a simplified training process,” Carrizales says. A full listing of Safer Choice Standard products can be found on the EPA’s website.
When cleaning, it’s important to remove surface soil and dirt as both can harbor germs and bacteria, Carrizales says. Lastly, it’s important to keep the process as streamlined and easy to follow as possible.
“Cleaning and disinfecting with a single product simplifies the cleaning process,” Carrizales says. “Disinfecting wipes are a great choice for these high touch areas. Just be sure to get a product with a low dwell time.”
Senior care facilities staff and administrators work hard to keep their residents as safe as possible. A lot of time, attention, and care goes into creating safety plans, transportation, transfer methods and more. Paying attention to the critical cleaning in the facility, especially in high-touch surfaces, is another key way to care take care of senior care residents.
Joy Choquette is a Vermont-based freelance writer.