Cleaning and hygiene have always been paramount in care homes, but both these issues have come to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of us now know that elderly people, including care home residents, are at greater risk¹ from the worst effects of the virus than most of the population, and that care workers² are more likely to contract Covid-19 in their daily work.
For the protection of residents, staff and visitors in the era of Covid-19, these are the essential cleaning and hygiene measures that care home providers are taking:
1. Use PPE to clean
The use of Personal Protective Equipment to protect care workers from contact with residents’ body fluids and secretions is now standard, but is also vital for cleaning tasks, where there is also a risk of contact with the virus.
Cleaners should be equipped with disposable aprons, fluid-repellent surgical masks and disposable gloves for use during cleaning.
Disposable items are single use so these need to be disposed of immediately after use, in accordance with care home guidelines, with staff taking care not to touch their face, mouth or eyes when wearing gloves.
Many care homes have an allocated area for staff to put on and remove disposable PPE, so cleaners should follow this practice, and stay at least two metres away from any resident, particularly when they are not wearing or are removing their PPE.
2. Clean surfaces
A pristine care home setting creates a more comfortable environment for residents and staff, builds a good first impression for visitors and potential new residents, and, even more vitally, wards off the risk of cross-infection.
For safety reasons, the cleaning of doors, handles, rails, lift buttons, reception furniture, cupboard doors, kettles, telephones, and other potential spots for infection transmission, are now an essential element of this regular daily cleaning.
Although Covid-19 is believed to mainly spread through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes near another person, and through airborne particles of the virus in crowded or poorly ventilated settings, respiratory viruses such as Covid-19 are also known to live on surfaces³ for hours or even days.
Many care home providers take the precaution of regarding surfaces that people touch as a potential source of infection transmission.
To achieve both cleaning and hygiene, these surfaces should be cleaned first with warm soapy water and then disinfected with cleaning products, particularly after anyone with Covid-19 has been in the vicinity.
Cleaning should be done carefully to prevent fluids spraying into the surroundings or coming into contact with people in the area. Product could be applied directly onto a paper towel or disposable cleaning cloth for use. For full disinfection, surfaces should remain wet for ten minutes.
3. Hand Hygiene
Hand washing and sanitising is one of the best ways to keep the risk of virus transmission down.
A hands-free, foot operated hand sanitising unit in entrance areas offers staff and visitors an easy way to safely sanitise their hands on entry and when leaving. But for staff, the issue of hand hygiene goes further than this.
There are five key moments when care home workers are expected to thoroughly wash their hands. These are just before caring for a resident, immediately afterwards, straight after being exposed to any body fluids, immediately after touching a resident’s surroundings, such as doors and chairs, and after removing gloves and other PPE.
These principles should apply equally to cleaning tasks throughout the day.
4. Stay up to date
As studies reveal more about the transmission of Covid-19, and as guidance on how best to tackle the virus evolves, care home providers are staying up to date on how to best protect their environment against Covid-19.
Any new or relevant measures should be applied to cleaning tasks and the staff responsible for these.
5. Use effective products
Because they are highly effective and easy to use, good cleaning products will reduce man-hours, deliver a lower ‘cost in use’ and can often clean and disinfect in one.
For fast and efficient cleaning and disinfecting of hot spot areas,Flash Professional Disinfecting Multi-surface & Glass cleaner Spray kills* 99.99% of coronaviruses and bacteria and is safe for use on most washable interior surfaces such as cleaning and disinfecting kitchen and bathroom surfaces. It comes with a spray mechanism that helps cleaning to get the job done quickly and easily.
In bathrooms, P&G Professional Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner is effective against bacteria and fungi.
For your laundry, Banner offers a great range of laundry solutions such as Ariel laundry powder and Lenor fabric conditioner to ensure towels and bed linen is ultra- soft and clean.
For the kitchen, Banner offers a great range of solutions to help you save time and money, such as Fairy Original All In One Dishwasher Tablets which is unbeatable for food cleaning and keeping your dishwasher grease free or Fairy manual washing up liquid which is proven to last up to 50% longer than the next best selling brand and Flash Professional Disinfecting Degreaser.
*Kills 99.99% of coronaviruses and bacteria in 15 seconds according to EN14476 and EN1276*
Disclaimer: *Bacteria on EN1276/EN13697 (15sec/5min contact time, clean/dirty conditions). Viruses tested on enveloped viruses EN14476 (15sec contact time). Not tested on SARS-CoV-2.
With Banner you can
protect your care home during Covid-19 and beyond. Contact your Banner account manager or telephone us on 0843 538 3311.