How to ensure effective cleaning in aged care facilities
The resurgence of the Covid-19 virus across the world and in Australia has us all thinking twice about the virus we thought was on it’s way out. Particularly when it comes to effective cleaning in aged care facilities.
Unfortunately, as the sad situation in Melbourne unfolds, it is more important than ever to operate a COVID-10 safe aged-care home. With the majority of the elderly in care-homes dealing with pre-existing medical conditions and weaker immune systems, hygiene is a top priority to stop the spread of the virus.
What are the key things you should be looking in the performance of your commercial cleaner?
The key is to not just clean, but to follow a thorough, three-step process of cleaning, disinfecting and then sanitising. Cleaning may lift dirt and debris, but a general cleaner will not destroy germs. Disinfecting and sanitising is key to destroying viruses and germs that can linger on surfaces. Poor cleaning with a general cleaning chemical will not do the job. In fact, lazy cleaning will just move germs and spread viruses about, which is a huge WHS risk.
In aged-care facilities, rooms and suites tend to be quite close together and common areas are where residents spend most of their days. These are high-risk areas for contamination. You also need to take into account that some elderly residents may be forgetful or frail and not following the guidelines of frequent hand washing and social distancing.
Surface contamination is your biggest risk and your commercial cleaning team should be frequently cleaning and sanitising:-
- Bathrooms with particular attention to supporting rails, taps and flushes
- TV remotes, games, knitting needles and any other shared equipment in common rooms
- Light switches, door handles and windows that are opened frequently
- Chairs and tables
- Walking aids and wheelchairs
A quick wipe down is not enough. Your cleaner must use an anti-viral spray or wipes. Disinfectant sprays are ideal for aged care homes as they are quick, easy to use, with no odour and dries on contact leaving no residue.
Viruses and germs are hidden, so something may look perfectly clean, but harbour dangerous germs waiting to be transferred. Ask your commercial cleaner how they are measuring the effectiveness and frequency of their cleaning. Is there a time schedule and are your aged-care staff sharing schedules for group activities for example? Sharing this information means cleaning team can be extra vigilant over those times.
Everyone needs to be COVID-Safe
Protecting the vulnerable from COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility and the weight should not fall solely on your aged care cleaner. All staff should receive training and refresher courses and PPE should be provided. If anyone displays symptoms, even mild, they should stay home and as an employer, you should do all you can to ensure your employees feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Internal training in tandem with an effective COVID-Safe commercial cleaner will minimise the risk and reduce the spread of COVD-19 to our elderly and vulnerable.
Want more details on what a COVID-Safe cleaning schedule and effective cleaning in aged care facilities look like? Contact the Clean Focus experts who are protecting Australian businesses, schools and care homes every day.