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During a recent flu season, an estimated 147.8 million doses of vaccine were administered in the United States. U.S. citizens are urged more than ever to wash their hands on a regular basis. This recent flu season proved to cause a significant burden in older people and caused a higher hospitalization rate than ever before in people 65 years and older.
Getting the flu is not fun, to say the least, and washing your hands regularly helps to protect against everything including the flu, the common cold and is simply a good preventative step to keep from spreading germs around a busy place like the office or a nursing home. You must do a good job of keeping and preventing your nursing home or rehab facility free from all such pathogens. Your employees also will be more healthy, creating fewer sick days, resulting in your business to operating more efficiently.
To make sure your nursing or rehab facilities stay safe and clean, I’m sharing our checklist of our top 5 most germ-infested places in your facility.
1. The Kitchen
At top of the list, your kitchen normally is at the highest risk of hosting a variety of little nasties. Point of focus: your kitchen sink. It’s often home to more bacteria than anywhere else in your facility. This is critical, because the kitchen is where your employees handle food for your residents and for themselves. It’s not just important, but critical to keep any kitchen area in your facility sanitized on a regular basis. Other focal areas are the faucet/sink, sponges, countertops, cabinet handles, utensil drawers and even coffee makers are known to harbor bacteria.
2. The Bathroom
When you ask most people where the most germ infested place is in any building they will probably tell you that it is the bathroom. It would be hard to argue with them since in most bathrooms germs like E-Coli, fecal bacteria, salmonella, hepatitis A, staphylococcus and more are present. But because the bathroom is often at the top of the list for cleaning, in actuality, it’s often kept cleaner than a kitchen is.
Another misconception exists that the toilet worst offender. The toilet is actually much cleaner than your think and most likely won’t be the one to get you! Instead think about all of the areas that you touch with your hands in a bathroom, the door handle, sinks, hand dryers, urinals, soap dispensers, etc. These are often areas that get overlooked, just like a kitchen, contain the most germs that can be transmitted.
3. Your Desk
Desks are one of the most overlooked places in any facility for cleaning. But is where you or your employees spend the most time making it one of the dirtiest places in your facility. Your desk may not as dirty as the kitchen or bathroom, but what happens after you grab that cup of coffee? You end up back at your desk touching the keyboard, mouse, phone, chair, desk, door-knobs, etc. Don’t overlook this area, disinfect this area on a regular basis too!
4. The Elevator
Small space, high traffic and lots of shiny surfaces to touch with your germs. Holding your breath while riding in an elevator isn’t the solution. Cleaning it is. As one of the highest traffic areas in a facility, the most commonly overlooked spot to clean are the buttons. On average, they contain over 3,500 bacteria per square inch! That’s more bacteria than most others places in your facility. A dirty lobby leading to the elevators compounds the problem. You can carry hand sanitizer with you all the time, or use a pen, gloves or your elbow to push that tiny button, or include this spot in your regular cleaning routine.
5. The Lobby or Community Area
Last but not least, there are many advantages to keeping your lobby or common area clean. This is one the highest traffic areas in your whole building and is very susceptible to germs and bacteria. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer near the doorway and remind visitors to sanitize when coming in and out of your building. This gives your visitors a quick way helping to prevent the spread of germs to your residents and staff.
Key Take-a-ways from this article:
Keeping your nursing facility clean may seems like a monumental task, but it’s not impossible. Here are some key things to remember to keep you, your staff and residents germ free.
What do you think of this article? I’d love to get your input or hear your questions! Upper Valley Cleaning works with several facilities around the region and we like to think we have the expertise and experience to keep nursing and rehab facilities safe and clean.