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Patient Centered Cleaning Terms

If you’ve read our series of blogs on patient centered cleaning, you know that our team specializes in providing janitorial services for healthcare facilities. When providing healthcare cleaning services, it is critical for both the cleaning team and the client that the work is done meticulously and safely.  Employees must follow steps correctly and wear the personal protective equipment in order to prevent the contraction and spread of dangerous diseases. In this week’s blog, we are covering the industry specific terms that are used to describe medical facility cleaning.

Between Case Cleaning: Cleaning and disinfection process that occurs between surgical cases.

Bio Burden: Degree of microbial contamination or microbial load; the number of microorganisms contaminating an object. Further defined as the number of bacteria living on a surface that has not been sterilized.

Concentrate: Chemical cleaning product in a condensed form. Must be mixed with water to form a ready-to-use or use dilution mixture.

Contaminated:  The presence of potentially infectious pathogenic microorganisms (e.g., blood, other potentially infectious materials) in animate or inanimate objects.

Cross Contamination: The act of spreading bacteria and viruses from one surface to another. Since blood borne viruses can live on objects and surfaces for up to a week, germs could be spread when surfaces are not disinfected right away. If equipment is not cleaned and sterilized between clients or if it is not cleaned and disinfected properly, these germs will continue to spread.

Decontamination: (a) Any physical or chemical process that removes or reduces the number of microorganisms or infectious agents, and renders usable medical products or equipment safe for handling or disposal. (b) The process by which contaminants are removed, either by hand cleaning or mechanical means, using specific solutions capable of rendering blood and debris harmless and removing them from the surface of an object.

Disinfectant: Antimicrobial agents that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microorganisms; the process is known as disinfection. All disinfectants should be used according to the label instructions. All disinfectants used in the U.S. must be registered with the U.S. EPA.

Donning PPE: Putting on personal protective equipment (PPE).

Doffing PPE: Removing or taking off personal protective equipment (PPE).

Healthcare-Acquired Infection (HAI): Infection acquired by a patient during hospitalization and confirmed or diagnosed by clinical or laboratory evidence. The infectious agents may originate from sources inside or outside the health care setting. HAIs may not become apparent until the patient has been discharged from the hospital.

High Touch Points: Surfaces or objects that are frequently touched by patients, staff, and visitors; usually very visible surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, handles, railings, desk tops, communication devices, remotes, etc.

Infectious Waste: Discarded material that carries a high risk of transmitting disease or illness to humans and/or is capable of producing an infectious disease. Also known as red bag waste.

Microfiber Cloth: A cloth made of synthetic fibers such as polyesters, polyamides (nylon), or a combination of both. Microfiber cloths may be reusable or disposable.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Specialized equipment or clothes for the eyes, face, head, body, and extremities; protective clothing; respiratory devices; protective shields and barriers designed to protect the worker from injury or exposure to a patient’s blood, tissue, or body fluids.

Red Bag: A red plastic bag used for the disposal of no-sharp and potentially infectious biohazardous waste by health care facilities.

Sharps: Medical instruments that are sharp or may produce sharp pieces.

Standard Precautions: An approach to infection control that calls for treating all human blood and certain body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood borne pathogens.

Terminal Cleaning: Cleaning that is performed at the completion of the surgical practice setting’s daily surgery schedules. Terminal cleaning is performed in the surgical procedure rooms as well as scrub/utility areas.

Now that you are aware of the terms that healthcare janitors use, you understand how in-depth our employees study the industry in order to provide the best service for our customers. By using these terms, our staff is able to set more concrete goals and expectations among our team and with our clients. It is critical to use this proper terminology in order to properly address the contamination that many healthcare environments incur. Next week's blog will contain more information on cleaning terms, this time highlighting general cleaning vocabulary! If you have any cleaning questions you would like us to address, please let us know.