Improve Infection Control
Each year, more than 2 million Americans develop Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) and 90,000 patients die from them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even with extensive procedures and policies in place to eliminate HAI, these infections may pose an increasing threat to patients during their hospital stay, according to the CDC. Proper hand washing and maintaining clean IV sites and wound dressings are among the top precautions, but hospitals are also using microfiber cleaning products to improve infection control.
Switching Makes Sense
One such provider is Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Calif., a full-service, acute care facility and one of the largest medical centers in the San Francisco Bay area. Carlos Benitez is an environmental services supervisor who oversees maintenance of Good Samaritan's San Jose facility and its Mission Oaks campus in Los Gatos, which together have approximately 500 beds.
Carlos and his staff handle everything from basic floor cleanings to intensive, deep cleanings needed in surgery areas. He says preventing hospital acquired infections is a huge concern. "With the older, smaller, traditional mops, our cleaning was not as effective. Also, employees developed back and shoulder problems because of the heavy, wooden handles and weight of the mops," he adds.
Since switching to microfiber more than two years ago, Carlos has seen a reduction in those problems. He notes that microfiber mops are flat, lightweight and easy to maneuver, enabling staff to clean more thoroughly and quickly. "We used to use johnny mops which were small, hand-sized sponge mops, but now we use microfiber mops for cleaning floors and walls," Carlos says. "They're bigger and we can clean faster and more effectively."
For example, it previously took four or five people to clean 12 rooms each night. With microfiber mops, the same job only requires three people and takes less time. "I'm always looking to get more productivity and higher quality results," Carlos explains. "Infection control is our top priority at the hospital, and I know we're helping to achieve that whenever we improve the quality of our cleaning."
Microfiber Helps Reduce Costs
Microfiber products collect and hold dust, dirt and allergens better than traditional cleaning methods and have been shown to reduce bacteria levels by as much as 99 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Carlos has noticed that microfiber cleaning uses less water and cleaning chemicals, which saves cost and time while reducing the risk of cross-contamination. His staff uses both wet and dry microfiber pads, as well as special buckets to reduce spills.
Microfiber products also help reduce noise and disturbance to patients. "We can use the new mops much more easily under beds and in other hard-to-reach places," Carlos says. In the past, mop strings would get caught under the wheels of patient beds, sometimes jarring the bed and disturbing a patient.
Not only must healthcare facilities be clean, they must look clean. "Our previous mops looked dirty quickly, which is especially bad when a patient's family is in the room during cleaning," Carlos says. "They would assume we were using the same mop for several rooms, not realizing that a fresh mop is used for each room. Now we use a new microfiber mop for each room, but they don't show the dirt, they're more durable in the wash, and they make a much better impression on visitors." He adds that the use of microfiber products is believed to have contributed to an increase in the hospital's customer satisfaction score.
"We used traditional kinds of mops for 20 years, but they could no longer keep up with today's cleaning standards," Carlos says. "They'd look bad after only five to 10 washings, and it affected people's impressions of the hospital. Microfiber products look and perform better. They're easy to wash, store and handle. We've even had visitors ask where we bought them."