A Step-By-Step Guide for Choosing Commercial Cleaning and Facility Management Services for Healthcare Facilities

Any healthcare facility must be spotless, hygienic, and safe for patients and workers. When you are trying to find a commercial cleaner for your facility, there are very specific things you need to look for and know.

You have a lot of commercial cleaning companies to choose from, but you need someone who is focused on your needs and the needs of your patients. Some companies aren’t.

Here's a quick rundown on what steps to take and what to look for when hiring a new commercial cleaner or facility management company for your healthcare clinic.

1. Does the cleaning crew and facility management staff understand a patient-first mission?

Over 1.5 million patients face a healthcare-acquired infections or HAI every year. These illnesses aren’t confined to acute care hospitals. They can happen anywhere, including dialysis centers and walk-in urgent care facilities.

And the rate of facility-caused infections is rising, while hands-on patient care-caused infections are decreasing.

Facility management companies and cleaning crews need to realize that when servicing a healthcare environment, they, too, are responsible for the health and welfare of every patient and visitor that enters the facility’s doors.

The solution is to find experienced cleaning crews specializing in cleaning healthcare facilities and take an individualized approach to each site.

The most important reason to hire a specialized cleaning crew is to reduce HAIs. Airborne infections that travel to fabric chairs and hard surfaces can linger for weeks and threaten every patient in your clinic.

Bloodborne infections are also a concern for healthcare clinics, including dialysis centers. These facilities must maintain he highest standards of sterilization to protect vulnerable patients and the staff who work with them.

In addition to lowering infection rates, outsourcing your healthcare cleaning can help save money. You don't have to pay full-time wages or healthcare costs for direct employees, and it frees your higher-paid employees to focus on patient care.

2. Did the New Cleaning Crew Thoroughly Inspect and Walk you Through Your Site?

Once you contract with a healthcare cleaning crew, they should first do a cleaning inspection. They should evaluate your urgent care's cleanliness and safety. Only then they can give you their plan for infection control.

The duties of a cleaner may vary slightly depending on the size of your facility, but here are two of the most common tasks you'll need your team to cover. Note, do not take these items for granted, and remember to ask about the methods they follow:

Floor Care

You should not have to provide floor buffers or chemicals to your crew. However, you may need to give them an area to store their equipment.

Experienced cleaning crews will use environmentally friendly cleaning products to clean your floors.

They will also undergo continuous training and improvement to ensure they do all they can to provide a safe environment.

A seasoned and well-trained cleaning crew will ensure they don't unintentionally cross-contaminate patient waiting areas and treatment rooms. That might mean they must maintain two sets of cleaning equipment.

When looking for a new facility management company, don’t hesitate to get super specific in your questioning. Ask about the types of mops they use to clean the floors. Cleaning crews should avoid bulky fabric mops and  regularly change their mop water.

A better choice would be to use disposable microfiber mop cloths that can get changed after each room. Talk to your cleaning company about their mopping procedures.

Infection Control

Your healthcare cleaning crew should always wear protective equipment to combat airborne and bloodborne illnesses. They should always wear gloves to clean patient rooms and common areas.

They should also wear face masks if they're cleaning a high-risk area.

Look for a crew that complies with OSHA regulations regarding hazardous chemicals and bloodborne pathogens. Moreover, they should comply with, and be extremely knowledgeable in, regulatory audits.

Your cleaning company should clean doorknobs, handrails, kitchen and break rooms, and reception areas. Even if they don't deep clean floors daily, they can make a weekly schedule to ensure they clean everything.

If you do laundry on-site, your cleaning crew should deep clean the washing machines and dryers regularly. If possible, they should also clean your walls, cabinets, and even ceilings.

Other important areas to clean include patient chairs, beds, and medical equipment. Cleaning crews should deep clean beds regularly. Just ensure they clean the wheels and metal parts under the mattresses.

In healthcare facilities, any hard surface could be harboring a deadly illness.

3. What Does Communication Look Like to Your New Team? What is the Daily Protocol? What is the Training Process Like?

Go deeper in your questioning of a new or potential cleaning crew. Find out exactly how the facility management company operates; why they operate the way they do; the oversight they give to their cleaning crew; and the daily action plan.

They should be trained in the most up-to-date procedures and get this training continuously.

Yes, an experienced healthcare cleaner can work with doctors, nurses, and even patients. And they should be polite, professional, and able to pause while cleaning a room if necessary. But this is the bare minimum.

Find out about the oversight of the cleaning crews and make sure the company behind them is working in lockstep for the safety of your facilities.

Learn how OpenWorks organizes procedures and communication with its 3 pillars of support in the chart here.

image of a chart of the 3 pillars of support provided by OpenWorks: Management, Service Provider, all with the Portal and tech assistance
OpenWorks has 3 distinct pillars of support to help you.

4. Gauge the Maturity Level of The Facility Management Company and The Cleaning Crew

With decades-long experience caring for facilities, training cleaning crew members, and providing oversight, OpenWorks has developed a scale for determining the maturity level of the cleaning company you work with.

Not only do your patients deserve a mature team that partners with the facility, but your organization also deserves a facility management team that can help your brand stand out from the competition.

Chart that shows how to gauge a facility management company's level of maturity. There are four levels: Starting, Progressing, Excelling, Leading. You want to choose a level four when possible.
This chart illustrates the levels of maturity a facility management company or commercial cleaning company can have. When you can, choose a Level Four for the most mature company to help you.

5. Make Sure that the Company and the Crew Do Not Take a “One-Size-Fits-All Approach” to Every Site It Serves

Ensure you inquire how your cleaning crew approaches each site in your portfolio. Do they use a  "one-size-fits-all" facility management approach or a bespoke approach to individual buildings?

OpenWorks knows that each building has unique and important needs.

We've worked with healthcare facilities for three decades and specialize in customized cleaning solutions. OpenWorks prides itself on being a true partner in healthcare and wellness.

If you're ready to make your healthcare facility safer, more hygienic, and a place of tranquility for healing, call us directly or contact us online for more information.

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