In caregiving, as in most endeavors, what gets measured gets done. Regular feedback motivates both staff and management. The team is, we are, meeting expectations. If not, variations from the norm are swiftly corrected and the risk of HAI outbreaks is kept very low. The business and its jobs are secure. The public's perception of quality in both the place and the people creates an image of professionalism, keeping rates of occupancy at profitable levels.
Education and motivation are again key components in training staff on keeping those surfaces TouchReady™ and avoiding unnecessary contamination. They must understand the why, the when, the how and the how frequently in order to maintain the required intensity, day in and day out.
It is critically important for staff to realize that cleaning of surfaces must go well beyond clean to sight and touch. If surface cleaning is in any way trivialized, don't expect training to change problem behaviors. Visualize and personalize.
Always look for ways to make it easier for the staff to do the right thing. Set procedures to make sense and be as intuitive as possible. Look to make all changes relevant to the staff's performance and resident/patient satisfaction.
TouchReady™ Surfaces is the outcome of this system as well as its name. It starts with a risk assessment of current practices and sets a course to reach and sustain safe level standards for surfaces prioritized by their risk potential.
Operations, both large and small, are encouraged to start in the same way - gathering multi-department input and support by setting up a trial and tailoring a solution that fits the individual operational culture.
Good surface hygiene is critical to any and all healthcare facilities. If you are satisfied with your surface cleanliness systems, keep up the good work and please share with us your system and standards.
Every high-touch surface in a healthcare facility is different but important to understand in its potential role in HAI outbreaks. Each carries an unknown risk factor for contaminating the hands, bare or gloved. These hands in turn can contaminate other surfaces, hands and even enter the food served to these immune-compromized residents and patients. Grouping these touches, with the HACCP principle in mind, is a good first step - prioritizing those touches that must trigger a hand cleaning event and a specific regimen.
Successful Long-Term Care and Acute Care depends on professionalism throughout the facility, including Resident/Patient rooms and bathrooms, kitchen/dining space, special care rooms, staff break rooms and public areas. It can be and should be a rewarding career from the entry-level worker, to the local management and owners.
How long to wash? Soap or rub? Added friction? Once or twice? Bimodal? Choices must be made in order to train, gain process control, motivate staff and protect patients/residents. Your units from patient rooms and nursing stations to the kitchen are likely not a one-size-fits-all when it comes time to specify your products and protocols of choice.
Rutger's food safety risk authority, Dr. Don Schaffner, reacts to the approximation strategy in opening the door to a risk-based sustainable handwashing process:
This executive call to action moved Handwashing For Life Healthcare to develop a cross-functional framework for the self-assessment of the risk ascribed to compromised hand hygiene in long-term and acute care facilities. The Circles of Success workshop is designed for executives, those with a depth of experience but in divergent disciplines, to collaboratively agree their current risk level and chart a course of continuous improvement.