Cleaning, decontamination and waste management
The environment plays a relatively minor role in transmitting infection, but dust, dirt and liquid residues will increase the risk. They should be kept to a minimum by regular cleaning and by good design features in buildings, fittings and fixtures. National initiatives such as The Health Act 2006, Essential steps to Safe Clean Care (2006), Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection (2004), and NHS Estates Healthcare Facilities Cleaning Manual (2009) all promote the importance of cleanliness in the healthcare environment, to assist in tackling the problem of healthcare acquired infections. Work surfaces and floors should be smooth-finished, intact, durable of good quality, washable and should not allow pooling of liquids and be impervious to fluids. All surfaces should be kept clear of unnecessary equipment or clutter to ensure regular and thorough cleaning can occur. The most important component of an effective cleaning programme is the regular removal of dust from all horizontal surfaces. GPD and water should be used for all environmental cleaning – follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Disinfectant such as a chlorine releasing solution, should only be used to decontaminate spills of body fluids, or for “terminal” cleaning of an area after a known case or outbreak of infection. Walls require spot cleaning to remove splashes/marks.
Difficult to reach/clean areas should have contracts arranged for regular planned preventive maintenance and cleaning e.g. behind radiator guards, fans, ventilation units/grills etc. All cleaning equipment should be colour-coded for different areas of use, as per National colour-coding guide. The water used for cleaning, in buckets, must be changed frequently and disposed in a sluice sink. Clean the mop handle and bucket after use. Dry and store bucket inverted. Mop heads should be removed after each use for laundering in a hot wash and then stored dry but if heavily soiled to be discarded. Single-use mop heads should be used if industrial washing machine laundering facilities are not available. Single-use, non-shedding cloths or paper roll should be used for cleaning and drying. Equipment and materials used for general cleaning should be kept separate from those used for dealing with body fluids.
Cleaning schedules are to aid the prevention and control of health care associated infections. Theatre have suitable arrangements and procedures as part of their health and safety requirements and must ensure that appropriate, standardised control of infection guidance exists and is readily available to, understood and followed by all members of staff.
Regular and efficient cleaning is necessary to maintain the appearance and function of the premises; it is also required to control the microbial population and to prevent the transfer of potentially infectious material. It is important that the chosen method of cleaning should remove the contamination, and not redistribute it.
The CQC expect to see clean premises, where all possible steps have been taken to ensure the risks associated with infections are at a minimum. Clear policies and procedures are in place to achieve this. The cleanliness of any environment is important to support infection prevention and control and ensure patient confidence. Cleaning staff play an important role in improving the quality of the care environment. The aim of a cleaning schedule is to provide a clean and appropriate environment that facilitates the prevention and control of infection.
By ensuring all staff are fully trained in infection control and waste management minimises the spread of infection.
All cleaning materials and equipment such as mops and buckets should be colour coded. The reason for this is to ensure cleaning equipment that is regularly used should be fit for purpose, easy-to-use and well-maintained. By ensuring each piece of equipment is only used in its...
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