The exam room is ground zero for fighting the spread of infections and communicable diseases in healthcare environments. Each patient who enters an exam room in your facility has the potential to leave behind bacteria that could prove dangerous to other vulnerable patients and your employees.
It's important to establish clear and precise exam room cleaning procedures to keep both patients and staff happy and healthy. Learn more about the protocols your medical office can adapt to ensure your exam rooms stay as germ-free as possible, and develop your own exam room cleaning checklist with tips from the professionals at ServiceMaster Clean®.
GOOD FOR PATIENTS, GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Keeping your medical office as germ-free as possible makes sense from both a patient-safety perspective and a business perspective. Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) can prove dangerous and even life-threatening for patients, especially for older patients and those with weakened immune systems. HAIs can also prove costly for healthcare practices at risk of malpractice claims.
According to a study done by the CDC, about 5-10% percent of inpatients at acute-care hospitals acquire an HAI during their stay. 1.7 million patients suffer from at least one HAI every year, leading to 99,000 deaths making these infections a critical issue for medical facilities across the country. Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your exam rooms after every patient visit will help stem the spread of HAIs and keep your patients safer.
At the end of the day, having disinfected, clean exam rooms is simply good for business. Many patients are concerned that a visit to the medical office will expose them to infection risks from other patients with communicable diseases. You can calm those fears, and keep patients returning to your office, by implementing stringent exam room cleaning procedures.
CREATE AN EXAM ROOM CLEANING CHECKLIST
Establish specific exam room cleaning protocols, including checklists for your entire staff to follow after patients exit each type of exam room. Know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, and establish specific terminal cleaning procedures where appropriate.
The following items should be included on every exam room cleaning checklist:
- Wash hands immediately after seeing patients.
- Perform hand hygiene would be correct terminology (acceptable to use sanitizer and change gloves, hand hygiene encompasses all)
- Place gloves in infectious waste containers.
- Gloves should go in the regular trash unless contaminated with infectious waste (not common; <5% of time)
- Dispose of biohazards properly
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces that have come into contact with biohazard wastes.
- All surfaces that the previous patient touched should be disinfected prior to the next patient, end of day cleaning will include a full clean and disinfection of all horizontal surfaces – not limited to biohazardous wastes which are typically not observed in exam rooms; more common in procedure rooms
- Disinfect all high-touch areas such as doorknobs, chairs, and light switches.
- Clean up any spills immediately using an EPA registered, hospital grade, disinfectant
- Launder contaminated items appropriately.
- Empty full trash cans.
- Empty hazardous waste containers when 2/3 full
KEEPING YOUR EXAM ROOMS CLEAN
Train your entire staff on basic healthcare cleaning protocols and how to implement each exam room's cleaning checklist to ensure the highest cleaning standards for every exam room. Applying these cleaning protocols in your medical office can go a long way towards keeping your exam room safe, but for a truly thorough cleaning, you may need the help of dedicated environmental cleaning experts who understand the unique challenges in healthcare settings.
The patient-centered cleaning programs from ServiceMaster Clean® offer teams of experienced professionals with the tools and know-how to clean medical facilities. To help protect your patients, staff, and business reputation, contact ServiceMaster Clean for custom commercial janitorial services tailored to your specific healthcare facility.