Stopping infection in its tracks within a hospital environment is a team effort. But it’s one that – without competent cleaners – would be pointless.
That is why Wellington private hospitals, Bowen and Wakefield have put all of their housekeeping staff through the New Zealand Certificate in Cleaning (Level 2), supported by Careerforce – the Industry Training Organisation that supports the cleaning sectors. Both hospitals have said that the results have been outstanding.
Clare Betty, Bowen’s support services manager, says that having all the cleaners working to a known standard, rather than individual ones, has made a powerful difference.
“It is particularly evident in the space of infection prevention,” she said. “Now that our cleaners all truly understand why we have certain protocols and cleaning procedures in place, they work more confidently. They are also fully aware of the precautions they need to take when working in isolation rooms or high-risk areas.”
Sara, who has been a cleaner for more than 20 years, loved the training as it further endorsed and validated the importance of the work she is doing.
“It also ties our cleaning activity in with the policies we have in the hospital,” she explained. “When working in high-risk infection areas, I now understand how to best use the personal protection equipment to safeguard myself and ensure that I don’t catch anything that I might take home or into my community.”
Clare also added that after staff completed Careerforce’s module on infection control, she saw the cleaners and nurses discussing a unified approach, which included ensuring the right signage is placed on doors (indicating which level of personal protection gown is required).
“Knowledge brings with it confidence,” she elaborated. “It’s beneficial to everyone that my team now openly share advice with the people they work with. This means that everyone on the ward is following the same protocols, which makes this a far safer environment for everyone.”
Click here to meet Sara Down. After more than 20 years as a professional cleaner, Sara talks to us about the positive impact completing her cleaning qualification had for her and her children.