Clean-as-you-go Protocols for the Caregiver Team
Surface contamination is an under-addressed reality in hospitals and long-term care. Many surfaces are touched frequently and cleaned infrequently. If not cleaned in a cadence complementing the contamination rates, bacteria are free to multiply and viruses live on, awaiting the unsuspecting touch and transfer.
Intense need for a variety of direct care procedures results in a pace of work that competes with indirect care behaviors. Decisions are made in split seconds. To wash or not to wash? Under pressure these behaviors often default to all things tangible and measured. Patient satisfaction surveys are heavily affected by delays in direct care while the missed washing of a surface goes unnoticed.
Nurse assistants, nurses, doctors, culinary staff, housekeeping and administrators all must accept a role in clean-as-you-go.
The most important cleaner is just that, a cleaner. Log reduction in surface pathogens comes first from cleaning power: the ability to quickly wet, penetrate, emulsify, lift and release the contaminant. This removes pathogens without the need for harsh chemicals deployed to kill rather than clean.
Clean-as-you-go works best where no gloves are required for use. Convenience is king: no gloves needed, trigger spray application, accompanied by a convenient paper towel dispenser. Choose a paper for its wet strength, absorbency and its friction factor for added cleaning.
Cleaner-disinfectant combinations are recommended provided neither the cleaning nor the kindness-to-hands are compromised. Where added cleaning or disinfectant properties are needed, choose a product that meets your specific needs, verified by using ATP.
Install protocols that minimize the need for bleach and avoid the formation of biofilms.
Chose a reliable supplier that understands the chemistry of cleaning and is available to add their expertise to yours in meeting special situations.