Booklet helps and boosts healthcare cleaners

24th of September 2019 Article by Lotte Printz
Booklet helps and boosts healthcare cleaners

Lotte Printz reports from Denmark on the launch of a new publication on cleaning in healthcare facilities.

“The rather theoretical publication drawn up by Statens Seruminstitut (SSI) on national guidelines on cross-infection prevention (locally known as NIR]) is light years away from the cleaners who are to understand and use it,” Pia Heidi Nielsen of FOA, the Danish Trade Union for Care-workers and Cleaners, says speaking to the Danish cleaning industry magazine, rent i DANMARK.

As a consequence, the trade union joined forces with Rigshospitalet Glostrup (Danish state hospital in the Capital Region) to create an easy-to-use version of the NIR guidelines that are applied in hospitals and preferably at other healthcare facilities.

The hospital itself was one of the first facilities to clean according to those standards. And from now on the new publication will be used as a textbook or instructional material in the three-hour training course all staff involved in cleaning at the hospital must participate in. But the 60-page booklet is accessible, downloadable and easy to use for everyone who wishes to clean in accordance with the NIR standards.

It comes with plenty of real-life pictures showing step by step how various areas and surfaces in these facilities must be cleaned in order to minimise the risk of spreading infections. It explains in detail and in fact boxes high-risk surfaces, cleaning procedures, suggested frequencies and order of cleaning and equipment to be used and how. It even has an appendix with the hospital’s handbook for new staff and forms for screening and auditing in the cleaning process.

Lisbeth Stampe, who applies NIR in her daily job as a service assistant and cleaner and who has assisted in the making of the booklet, is confident it will come in handy in various healthcare facilities around the country and is pleased it can make the transition smoother and easier to grasp.

“We all know the feeling of getting worked up at the mere thought of something new which seems hard at first. And working according to NIR guidelines is a huge change for those who are not used to them. They require a change of heart,” she said when the booklet was launched.

People who have trained to become service assistants or studied on the AP Programme in hygiene and cleaning technique in Denmark have already become a little familiar with the NIR standards. But as NIR has established cleaning to be part of patient handling - thus acknowledging greater responsibility in the job - anyone who is able to clean this way, perhaps “just” after having read the booklet, may sense a boost themselves and should be met with the same respect and recognition as other professionals in a hospital or other healthcare facility.

NIR-skilled staff know the importance of preventing cross-contamination, the right order of cleaning and how to communicate with patients as they get literally close to them when cleaning, say, bed rails.

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