Outsourcing your long-term care facilities’ janitorial services will help improve the health and well-being of the residents in your care.
Advantages of Outsourcing Janitorial Services for Long-Term Care Facilities
Cleaning for health strategies in long-term care facilities is a challenging task that must take into account the residents’ weakened immune systems when disinfecting.
According to a 2011 article published in Aging Health;
Over 1.5 million people live in 16,000 nursing homes in the USA and experience an average of 2 million infections a year.
Infections have been associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality, rehospitalization, extended hospital stay and substantial healthcare expenses.
Emerging infections and antibiotic-resistant organisms in an institutional environment where there is substantial antimicrobial overuse and the population is older, frailer and sicker, create unique challenges for infection control.
Additionally, indoor air quality (IAQ) remains an ongoing challenge for long-term care facilities managers, with the two most prevalent concerns being:
- Airborne germs and bacteria, and;
- Volatile organic compounds released from cleaning supplies and other products.
According to a recent article published by McNights Long-Term Care News;
With so much attention paid to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and items like linens, infection control-minded facilities often over- look the source of more than one-third of nosocomial infections — the air.
Long-established airborne precautions are rarely used in long-term care facilities, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Types of Germs Found in Long-Term Care Facilities
Long-term care facilities, for numerous reasons, play host to a wide range of life-threatening germs and other microorganisms.
Healthcare environments including long-term care facilities are notorious harborers of bacteria (MRSA, VRE, C. difficile, acinetobacter), viruses (influenza, RSV, rotavirus, norovirus), and fungi.
While visitors and staff can bring microorganisms into eldercare facilities, sick residents also shed microorganisms into the healthcare environment, making good cleaning and disinfection of all areas in the LTC facility vital.
In general, the reasons behind the increased instance of pathogens in these facilities are:
- The prevalence of antibiotic use, leading to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as weakened immune systems and depleted gut flora.
- Resident vulnerability, typically as a byproduct of weakened immune systems associated with age and medical treatments.
- Closed quarters and living conditions combined with close proximity to other residents suffering from a range of health issues, and;
- An extended residence that significantly complicates advanced disinfection practices standard in hospitals and doctors offices, which are thoroughly disinfected upon patient discharge.
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Cleaning for Health Challenges Facing Long-Term Care Facility Managers
Recent studies have shown that LTC facility managers have made significant improvements to surface disinfection practices, yielding positive results.
However, IAQ practices have fallen short of established guidelines for medical care facilities.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), facility managers rarely follow long-established airborne precautions to eliminate the spread of influenza, tuberculosis, and other airborne pathogens.
AHRQ authorities recommend that facility managers know their buildings’ vulnerabilities in heating, venting, air-conditioning, and water systems.
These challenges can be addressed by:
- Implementing industrial-grade HEPA filtration and air purification systems to eliminate airborne toxins and pathogens.
- Regularly cleaning HVAC ducts and replacing HEPA filters, and;
- Replacing water pipes with copper or other smart materials to combat Legionella.
How Outsourcing Janitorial Services Can Benefit Your Long-Term Care Facility
Additional challenges facing LTC facilities managers are the policies and procedures, as well as associated personnel costs, necessary for providing a quality living and working environment.
According to a recent study published by Oxford Academic, LTC facilities primarily struggle with several gaps in their policies and procedures, including:
- A lack of written policies detailing routine and terminal cleaning, as well as disinfection procedures.
- No written policies for disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
- Where policies do exist, they are missing handling instructions for custodial or reusable medical equipment.
- A lack of training for staff and residents on cleaning and product handling procedures.
- A failure to complete indoor air quality tests, and;
- No system for staff, residents, and guests to provide feedback on the quality of cleanliness.
While surface disinfection practices have improved inside long-term care facilities, established indoor air quality procedures have been found lacking, leading to preventable health issues for residents, staff, and guests.
Additionally, costly documentation, management, and training policies and procedures are contributing to gaps in the quality of service provided by LTC managers that are likely affecting the facilities’ bottom line, and negatively impacting the health of occupants.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of outsourcing janitorial services to cost-effectively improve the health and safety of residents, visitors, and caregivers in your long-term care facility–contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253