Infection is a significant problem for many long-term care facilities. Exposure to pathogens such as C. diff., MRSA, influenza and others can be life-threatening for seniors whose immune systems may be compromised by other health issues. Providing a clean, safe and healthy living space is essential for good patient care and the success of your facility.

Increasingly, nursing homes are outsourcing their housekeeping duties to companies with extensive infection control experience. This decision helps protect residents from preventable illnesses and has other important benefits.

“Outsourcing housekeeping responsibilities to environmental service professionals is a good move from both a quality-of-care and a financial perspective,” explains Daniel Gravatt, business operations manager for ServiceMaster Clean, one of the nation’s leading janitorial service providers. “We have more than 60 years of experience to go along with a staff that is specifically trained in infection prevention in the healthcare environment. That level of expertise rarely exists with an in-house janitorial staff.”

Gravatt said there are four areas in which outsourcing environmental services benefits senior living facilities. Each overlaps the other to create a better, more sustainable business for nursing home management.

Clean, safe, healthy

Professional environmental services such as ServiceMaster Clean make a science of cleaning. Experienced trainers with knowledge of infectious diseases teach advanced cleaning and disinfecting methods and products to staffers whose performance is evaluated regularly to achieve best outcomes. This type of constant quality control helps ensure the surfaces and materials in your facility are free of harmful pathogens.

Cleaning methods have changed dramatically over the past several years. Old-fashioned mops and brooms are no longer recommended. Neither is bleach or cleaning products with strong fragrances. Instead, staffers use microfiber cleaning pads and vacuums with HEPA filters to capture dust and dirt particles and remove them, rather than stir them into the air.  EPA-registered, hospital grade cleaner disinfectants not only clean, they kill pathogens that cause illnesses.

“The level of infection control we can provide is up to the facility administrator’s preference,” says Gravatt, who has extensive experience in the nursing home industry. “Thorough daily cleaning and disinfecting will keep a facility clean, mitigate infection and eliminate odors.  In addition, we can offer services such as facility-wide deep cleans on a one-time or recurring basis,  and using electrostatic sprayers to supplement daily cleaning, disinfecting and odor control.”

More resident satisfaction

Residents and their families often judge the quality of a senior-living facility by its cleanliness.  Are the floors, tables and countertops clean? Are the linens fresh?  Is the facility odor-free? These are often the first observations guests make when entering your facility.  If you don’t pass the eye test, you may not get an opportunity to sell them on your personal services and care.

Cleanliness has a significant impact on patient and guest satisfaction, and not just from an aesthetic perspective. If infection spreads within a facility, you may lose existing or potential residents and your reputation will certainly suffer. Outbreaks also divert the time and energy of clinical staff so that they can’t provide the level of personal care that residents need.

“Administrators and staff want to protect the health of their residents, but a facility’s reputation will also suffer from repeated outbreaks of contagious diseases,” says Gravatt. “Residents and their families may cast blame on the facility if their loved one becomes ill because of an outbreak.  If not addressed properly, it also can lead to survey and liability issues.”

Costs controlled

It can be expensive to maintain an in-house cleaning staff. ServiceMaster Clean can help resolve your cleaning issues and help keep costs under control.  Some facilities choose to completely outsource housekeeping duties to an outside vendor. ServiceMaster Clean can, if you choose, supplement the services of your existing staff to provide a higher level of infection prevention. In some situations, ServiceMaster Clean can retrain an existing staff in new techniques and products to achieve the desired level of infection prevention.

Outsourcing can be flexible according to your needs and budget; it is not a one-size-fits all solution. Talk to a ServiceMaster Clean representative about your situation.

Regulatory compliance

In November 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published new infection prevention requirements for long-term care facilities. The last of those new regulations becomes effective November 28.

ServiceMaster Clean uses only products and practices that have been approved by agencies such as the CMS, CDC, EPA, OSHA and other governmental and non-governmental organizations.  They can help you be in full compliance with all cleaning regulations the next time your facility is surveyed.

Cleanliness and infection control are essential in today’s long-term care business plan. It can enhance patient satisfaction, keep costs under control and keep your facility in full compliance with the new, stricter regulations. It pays to have a conversation with a provider like ServiceMaster Clean, which can help keep your facility clean, safe and healthy.

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