Ms Kate Smith1, Ms Carla De Marco2
1GAMA Healthcare, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
2GAMA Healthcare, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Environmental cleaning is critical within hospital infection control programs. However staff performing this vital role often have limited understanding of Hospital Associated Infections and how their cleaning impacts patient outcomes. We developed staged Infection Prevention (IP) and Environmental Cleaning workshops for cleaning staff – some of whom will have English as a second language.
Cleaning staff from six hospitals around Australia were provided education by IP Clinical Nurse Specialists. These one-hour workshops include both a theoretical and practical component. Basic IP principles, chain of infection, transmission of microbes and environmental risk, followed by practical cleaning and review with UV light, emphasised patient safety and a safe environment. Following excellent uptake and feedback, a second module was offered, targeting supervisors and cleaning staff wanting a higher understanding of IP practices. One-on-one competency-based assessments were included.
Over 550 staff in seven hospitals have received training in the past 12 months, with excellent feedback received. Participating staff indicated an increased understanding of IP principles, a sense of value and empowerment, whilst managers’ report improved work practices and job satisfaction.
Offering extra training for cleaning staff reinforces the value of a strong environmental cleaning and IP program and empowers cleaning staff with the knowledge required to make our hospitals and patients safe.
Kate Smith is a registered nurse with over 30 years experience in a range of disciplines including midwifery, oncology, wound care, infusion nursing and infection prevention. Her current role includes identifying, creating and delivering quality education and training to healthcare workers throughout Queensland and The Northern Territory.