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By: Joe Davis, Food, Drug, Retail Channel Leader, P&G Professional

Cleaning professionals in long term care (LTC) face the unique challenges of needing to find ways to be efficient and contain costs, while also working to minimize outbreaks and other infections that can be transmitted in LTC environments. Properly cleaning and disinfecting resident rooms and common areas can help reduce disease transmission, and while it seems like intuitive work, proper cleaning is highly technical with serious consequences if disinfection procedures are not completed correctly. But there are simple tips that cleaning managers can use to help keep common areas clean and help lessen the spread of infectious diseases between both residents and employees.

  • Educate and Train Staff – It takes time and consistency to establish and maintain proper cleaning protocols, but once done, the eventual dividends of establishing a cleaning training program can be significant. Employees who are trained properly have been shown to be less likely to leave – reducing turnover and training costs – and take more pride in improving residents' environments through correct cleaning and disinfecting techniques. Staff should be provided with regular formal trainings, procedures and tools like the free online training courses offered at P&G Professional University.
  • Use Multipurpose Products – To simplify cleaning and disinfecting tasks while increasing efficiencies, facility managers should choose Health Canada-registered multipurpose products designed to clean a broad range of task areas and disinfect in one step. Cleaning and disinfecting with a single product can help save labor time and money and simplify cleaning and disinfecting procedures, which aids in getting the job done right the first time and reduces the need for rework.
  • Clean High-Touch Areas – An easy way to help combat the spread of germs is to pay special attention to the top-touch points in LTC facilities. These high-touch surfaces are where high-level germ transmissions can occur, so they should be addressed in training and checked regularly by management to ensure they are being cleaned and disinfected as required. These critical touch points include, but are not limited to, door handles, sink faucets, food trays, countertops, chairs, tables, light switches, toilet handles, handrails and elevator buttons. Cleaning staffs should consistently clean and disinfect these areas throughout the day to help eliminate germs.
  • Promote Hand Washing – Hand washing is one of the most important steps that staff members can take to help fight the spread of germs, bacteria and disease. Facility managers should create and enforce proper hand washing protocol to reduce germs and keep staff accountable. They should also ensure that any area where staff are regularly washing hands is stocked and consistently checked to make sure soap and paper towel dispensers are filled and accessible.

Facility managers should always be vigilant in their cleaning efforts and staff training. By promoting good hand washing practices, identifying high frequency areas and high-touch surfaces and regularly cleaning and disinfecting, facility managers can help keep healthcare environments clean and hygienic. This, in turn, can help curb outbreaks and illnesses in facilities.  

While being vitally important to the health and wellness of your residents, cleanliness is also directly related to revenue in long-term care settings and could then be considered not just a cost center, but a profit center. All of these environmental factors influence a family’s first impression when looking for a LTC facility for a loved one and can impact overall resident satisfaction. Residents are more comfortable in a clean, inviting atmosphere that helps them feel at home, whether that’s visible cleanliness, fresh smelling linens or a clutter-free space.

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