The Canadian Association of Environmental Management (CAEM), along with Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, are now working on phase two of a study, which is examining how much time workers spend when cleaning different types of hospital rooms, and how they compare to Canadian and U.S. health agency benchmarks.
Keith Sopha, president of the Canadian Association of Environmental Management and founder of CleanLearning, revealed preliminary data from the first phase in a recently posted ISSA video that was recorded last year.
The project evolved from a Canadian Hospital Environmental Service Study (CHESS), which found more than half of environmental service managers say don’t have enough staff to clean hospitals to best standards, and less than 40 per cent of hospitals were cleaned sufficiently for infection control purposes.
Sopha says a third of Canadian hospitals that responded to the CHESS survey did conduct frequent cleaning audits of medical surgical rooms, but there was a “lack of knowledge regarding the length of time needed to clean rooms and perform cleaning tasks.”
Sopha outlined some benchmarks for current hospital cleaning times. The Centre for Disease Control reports 25 to 30 minutes, while Canada’s National Productivity Improvement Program in 1985 reported 14 to 16 minutes. ISSA states 12 to 21 minutes.
“The new time study will determine benchmarks for terminal and daily routine cleaning, he added. “And private and semi-private rooms, with and without isolation precautions.”
The first phase surveyed Canadian hospitals, which resulted in preliminary benchmarks for room cleaning times for different room types, daily and terminal room cleaning, and whether isolation precautions were in place. Findings show routine cleaning for private rooms took 17 min, semi-private took 24 minutes and ward cleaning was 38 minutes.
“The outcome of phase one of the study raised the question, were the reported cleaning times based on cleaning times required, or were the reported cleaning times allotted?”
Sopha said further results will validate the reported cleaning time benchmarks, with on-site observation audits recording each cleaning task and monitoring the flow in which the cleaning tasks take place
“We started a preliminary observation audit process in acute care, long-term care, complex continuing care and mental health facilities,” he said. “Data collected from observations to date indicate inconsistent cleaning practices, the times recorded are less than our survey results, and interruptions during cleaning efforts impact the time and quality of the room cleaning.”