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Training Best Practices for your Cleaning Staff

Training Best Practices for your Cleaning Staff

Training Best Practices for your Cleaning Staff

One of the biggest non-negotiables that residents of long-term care facilities and their families have is cleanliness. This is especially true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visibly dirty interior spaces create a snowball effect in the minds of residents, who then question whether the facility is effectively managing the microscopic pathogens that can cause disease. Today, long-term care facilities need to work harder than ever before to achieve and communicate their commitment to cleanliness.

To have a successful environmental services department, these businesses need to dedicate the necessary time to training their cleaning professionals. With a greater understanding of best practices, these professionals can properly execute their daily responsibilities while also upholding productivity, safety, and sustainability.

EVS Workers Put the “Care” in Long-term Care.

Environmental service workers are essential to the success of long-term care facilities. They are responsible for carrying out the majority of cleaning tasks, and their performance directly impacts the opinions that prospective and current residents form about these organizations. Cleaning duties include surface disinfection, carpet care, linen turnover service and more.

These functions need to be completed consistently day after day to protect a facility’s reputation and the wellbeing of residents and other employees. Even one small lapse in an EVS department can have a domino effect that negatively impacts the business over the long term. With many long-term care centers facing a high number of competitors in close proximity, from large established brands to independently owned facilities, operators need strong EVS departments to build a loyal customer base.

During the toughest times of the pandemic, many departments dwindled from large teams to one or two individuals due to furloughs and illness. Their properties were relying on them to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 so they could protect residents who are at an increased risk of illness. Cleaning teams had to quickly pivot and learn new best practices to address requirements and concerns.

In many cases, new chemicals, equipment, and protocols were introduced after years of completing cleaning in a predictable manner Now, in addition to being conducted more frequently and thoroughly, cleaning needs to be visible to give residents reassurance that a long-term care facility is taking public health and safety seriously. As the industry looks forward to the future and focuses on making a comeback, EVS teams remain a critical component of any successful operation.

Tips for Training Cleaning Professionals

Your cleaning program is only as good as the training you put into it. Review the following strategies for educating environmental services professionals so you can ensure your facility projects an image of cleanliness and care:

  • Don’t make training a "one and done" - Training needs to be continuously reinforced in order for employees to maintain consistent results. While training new hires is an obvious best practice, remember to also create learning opportunities for staff members who have years of industry experience. These workers are often responsible for helping others who have less experience, so it is important that they know the correct procedures. Combine verbal instructions with visual multilingual materials and hands-on demonstrations to enhance comprehension and compliance.
  • Emphasize the risks of cleaning in the wrong order – This is a multi-faceted best practice. For example, it is key that employees first clean surfaces and then disinfect, as cleaning removes soils that can inhibit adequate pathogen removal during the disinfection step. Additionally, cleaners should follow a certain order when cleaning various areas of the facility. For instance, cleaning top to bottom helps reduce cross contamination, a process that spreads germs to recently cleaned areas. In restrooms, this means addressing walls and counters initially and then working down to the toilets, rather than the opposite.
  • Educate employees on stain identification – There are several types of stains that will make their way onto the carpet throughout your building. For example, food and beverage spills are common in dining areas as well as in rooms where residents may eat. Organic stains like vomit and even pet accidents can also occur. Since treating a stain with a well-matched formulation gives you the best chance of successfully removing it, it is necessary for employees to understand the differences between stain types and the corresponding carpet care chemistries. Provide hands-on training and consider providing employees with an easy-to-follow chart so that they can quickly select a carpet stain remover to apply and agitate into carpet.

Securing Resident Satisfaction

There are many cues that residents of long-term care facilities observe related to cleanliness, including the appearance of the carpet in the lobby and activity rooms, the look of the bed linens, and the state of the dishware and cloth napkins used in the dining areas. The environmental services department oversees many of the things that can influence the resident experience.

Investing in regular and thorough training enables these cleaning professionals to carry out their tasks efficiently and effectively and in turn helps uphold satisfaction scores. In an increasingly competitive market, long-term care centers that prioritize cleaning the right way can secure loyalty and drive profit.

For more information about easy-to-use carpet care systems for your long-term care property, contact our sales team at 800.422.7686 or sales@whittakersystem.com.

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