How poor cleaning processes can impact the bottom line

Murray McDonald, director of Duplex Cleaning Machines, examines impacts of poor cleaning processes.

Murray McDonald’s seminar on the cost of poor healthcare cleaning processes at this year’s ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo Australia challenged attendees to consider the difference between the rapid advancements in medical science, treatments and technology, compared to the evolution of healthcare cleaning systems.

“We are living in a digitalised world,” Murray McDonald, director of Duplex Cleaning Machines told delegates of the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo in Melbourne.

“With such fast advancements in new medical sciences and technologies, how is it that we are still using the 3000 year old mop and bucket in operating theatres and patient rooms?

“At any given time in an Australian hospital, there is someone using a mop and bucket to clean. This doesn’t seem quite right when you think about other industries, where automation and digitalisation is now the norm.

“I look forward to the day where we have sensors in floor surfaces that can detect how dirty the floor is. I look forward to the day when staff are highly trained and educated, and know exactly what they need to do. I hope this day is coming soon.”

The director of Duplex Cleaning Machines also looked at the various impacts and flow-on effects poor cleaning processes inevitably have on a facility’s bottom line.

“Poor cleaning processes can create domino effects, which in turn impacts a facility’s bottom line,” he explained. “The most obvious cost of poor cleaning processes is when patient areas are compromised; when outbreaks of healthcare acquired infections (HAI) occur.

“Antibiotic resistant bacteria are also on the rise; it is becoming more and more difficult to treat post-infections. Therefore infection prevention is more important than ever before when it comes to healthcare infection cleaning.”

McDonald also noted that as we now live in a litigious society, hospital and aged care sectors have a bigger duty of care.

“Facilities need to adhere. A breach in healthcare regulations can result in fines, loss of credibility and reputation and possible lawsuits against the individual in question.”

He gave the example of someone getting from food poisoning after eating at a restaurant.

“Litigation usually follows. Yet, at the moment, when someone picks up a superbug at a hospital, there doesn’t seem to be a connection for the lawyers at present to be coming in. But I’m sure that will be changing over time.

Poor cleaning processes can also have an effect on staff morale at a facility, said Murray.

“Facilities with regular outbreaks can lower the staff morale. Staff members, such as nurses and doctors may feel less inclined to work at facilities where they are constantly putting out fires and managing one outbreak after another. This can lead to high staff turnover which in turn, leads to high recruiting costs.

“The potential risks of poor cleaning processes can lead to costs well beyond the time it takes to manage specific problems.”

Read more about the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo in the upcoming July/August issue of INCLEAN magazine.  

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