Ensuring patient safety in the healthcare settings is critical to improving the patient experience and providing the best health outcomes. Medical facilities include ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient centers, urgent care facilities, and physicians' offices. Here are some of the strategies for cleaning medical facilities that can reduce the spread of infections and keep patients safe.
Develop a Culture of Safety
Developing a culture of safety should be at the heart of patient safety efforts. A culture of safety occurs when all clinicians and nonclinical associates share common values and use the same processes relating to patient safety. In this culture, people feel motivated to put patient safety first. When teams operate in a culture of safety, studies show a substantial reduction in adverse events and patient mortality. When mistakes happen, clinicians are more likely to report them. Team and unit-based training programs and executive walk rounds are effective strategies that help medical facilities instill a culture of safety.
Practice Proper Hand Washing
In developed countries, at least 7% of hospitalized patients acquire healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Practicing proper hand washing is one of the simplest and best ways to reduce the risk of spreading HAIs. As hand hygiene is one of the 5 pillars of safety, all people interacting with patients, including clinicians, nonclinical associates, and visitors should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water on the entry and exit of patients' rooms. They may also wash their hands more frequently if they come in contact with potential contaminants. An alcohol-based handrub or sanitizer can also be an effective choice when available.
Establish Cleaning Guidelines
Developing clear guidelines for cleaning medical facilities ensures the process is consistent and effective to keep patients safe. Many medical facilities trust third-party environmental services (EVS) providers that specialize in healthcare-grade cleaning standards and also uses of cutting-edge technology for disinfectant.
Incorporating the use of UV-C technology into your medical facilities' cleaning guidelines reinforces infection prevention. UV-C technology deactivates difficult-to-eliminate pathogens to make environments safer for patients, their loved ones, and healthcare professionals. They also provide a visual signal that an environment is clean, which can enhance patient satisfaction. Medical facilities across the United States who installed UV-C devices increased their Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) cleanliness scores by +3.2 to +17.5 points in just three months.
Medical facilities that are in non-acute settings are increasingly becoming the facility of choice for patients. It's critical more now than ever to maintain patient safety standards by creating a culture of safety and taking steps to improve hand hygiene and cleaning, facilities can dramatically reduce the risks to patients and provide the best healthcare experience.