Key Facts About Healthcare Facility Cleaning for COVID-19

Key Facts You Should Know About Healthcare Cleaning for COVID-19

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Detailed medical cleaning and disinfection has always been a critical component of any healthcare setting, but nothing has highlighted the importance of truly clean environments quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether in a GP clinic, laboratory, aged care home or a hospital, hygiene standards will be key in maintaining – or potentially risking – the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors. There simply is no room for error.

So what do you need to know when it comes to meeting the latest Government guidelines?

Fact 1#: Health care settings demand an exceptional cleaning standard.

You’ll already know this if you work in a healthcare setting, but hospital cleaning and healthcare facility cleaning requires regular, meticulous cleaning and disinfection.

For patient areas and consulting rooms, frequently-touched surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected between each patient – particularly surfaces that may have been exposed to respiratory droplets, or that patients have touched directly.

Inpatient areas should have frequently-touched surfaces cleaned and disinfected at least daily. High traffic areas should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Very contaminated areas require a terminal clean. This includes thorough environmental decontamination with an enhanced cleaning and disinfection process.

Fact #2: Cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting are not necessarily the same thing.

The right cleaning techniques are essential in the management of harmful pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, which has been found to live on surfaces from a number of hours to several days. Here’s how the cleaning methods are differentiated:

  • Disinfection uses a chemical and/or physical process to kill up to 99.9999999% of microorganisms. The appropriate disinfectant will attack the lipid structure of SARS-CoV-2 to inhibit its spread.
  • Cleaning includes the removal of visible dirt or matter from a surface. Many disinfectants can be inactivated by organic matter, dirt, grease, oil or soap films, so thorough cleaning is an essential step before disinfection is carried out.
  • Sanitisation reduces the number of germs on a surface to a level deemed safe by public health requirements, either by removing or killing germs. Although sanitisation can include disinfection, the two aren’t the same. Disinfection is key in inhibiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Sterilising is a process that applies extreme heat, such as in an autoclave, to kill 100% of microorganisms.

When it comes to medical facility cleaning the Australian Department of Health recommends the use of either sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach), or a TGA-listed hospital grade disinfectant that explicitly describes antiviral activity. It’s also vital that medical cleaners have adequate training to dilute and apply the disinfectant correctly with the appropriate dwell time – that is, the time needed for the disinfectant to do its job.

Fact #3: Surface disinfection services should be carefully planned and focused.

It’s essential that if you are managing a healthcare environment, pre-emptive disinfection services
should be carefully prioritised and focused in order to minimise the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

  • Frequently touched surfaces typically include door handles, bedrails and handrails, light switches and tabletops. These will require high focus for cleaning and disinfection, carried out on a daily basis at the very least.
  • Minimally touched surfaces typically include floors, walls, ceilings and window coverings. While these require regular and thorough cleaning, they may not contribute to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as much as frequently touched surfaces.

Your commercial cleaning company should be developing a customised medical cleaning plan for your facilities to ensure that no detail is missed when it comes to a safe and hygienic healthcare environment. For peace of mind, you can contact AMC Commercial Cleaning to access special response surface disinfection services in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and elsewhere.