Recently, LW Consulting, Inc. was invited to present a three-part series on the subject of infection control for the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA).
During the first presentation in November, our panel of experts received many excellent questions. The panelists reviewed the questions after the session and have provided their answers. We are pleased to share them for the edification of all and hope that you find the answers useful in your everyday operations.
In Part 1 of this series, we will provide answers to the questions that were asked regarding cleanliness and housekeeping.
Please note – Some of the information is specific to New Jersey, but many items are consistent across state lines. If you have additional questions, we urge you to reach out to us at LW Consulting, Inc., and one of our experts can provide more specific information.
Question 1: “Do sharps containers need to be mounted to med carts, or can they be placed on top?”
Answer 1: Employers are required to ensure the sharp containers remain upright. Med carts are transported throughout the hallways and are required to remain locked to protect the integrity of the medicines that they carry and to prevent access by residents and family members. Many carts have mounted options for sharp containers that secure the sharps container and prevent it from being removed or falling over. In an environment where there are residents that may become confused or have dementia, every step should be taken to reduce the likelihood of a needle stick.
Question 2: “Do List N approved chemicals need to be used for daily cleaning in resident apartments in assisted living residence or just high touch public areas?”
Answer 2: List N chemicals should be used for your disinfectant. The chemicals have been added to the list because they have been found to be effective against SARS-COV-2. The List N chemicals should not be limited to use only on high touch public areas. It is important to review the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical prior to use to ensure that your employees are aware of the surface dwell time (The length of time needed for the chemical to be exposed to a surface to kill the desired pathogen), as well as what surfaces can be disinfected appropriately with the chemical. In senior living, it is important to disinfect all surfaces that could cause cross contamination. This includes public areas as well as the resident rooms and apartments in assisted living.
Question 3: “Is it safe to pour cleaning chemicals from a larger container to a smaller labeled bottle via a funnel?”
Answer 3: You may pour cleaning chemicals from a larger container into a smaller container. Make sure to review the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use when working with the chemical. Ensure that both containers have an appropriate label for the chemical that is being used. Make sure the smaller container is clean and does not contain residue from any other chemical.
Question 4: “How often does mop water need to be changed? If you are cleaning offices with their own bathrooms, does it need to be changed between office bathrooms?”
Answer 4: When using a looped mop, the mop water and mop head must be changed at least once every three rooms. The water and mop head should be changed anytime the chemical solution becomes visibly dirty, or after cleaning an isolation room. The use of a microfiber system reduces the potential for cross-contamination. Using the microfiber system, the housekeepers will use multiple mop heads for a single room and a separate mop head for the bathroom. The housekeepers will never use the same mop head for multiple rooms. The initial cost of the microfiber system is high; however, the facility will save money over time with a reduction in water and chemical usage.
Look for Part 2 of the “3-Part COVID-19 Q&A Series” where we will discuss questions asked regarding N95s, Masks, and Respirator Compliance.
Do you have more specific housekeeping or environmental services questions? Contact Emile LeDoux, Senior Consultant, at 717-313-3120 or email ELeDoux@LW-Consult.com.