A Patient's Checklist: What to Check for Where Cleanliness Is Concerned
It is important for a patient and their families to know what to keep an eye out for during their hospital stay. Certain behaviors by the hospital could put the patient at a higher risk for contracting certain infections such as Staph.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services partnered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2002 in order to develop The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. The HCAHPS was created as a way to set a standard for hospitals. The patients will rate the hospital on their cleanliness and how likely they are to want to return to that hospital. Eventually the surveys will be used by the government in an effort to avoid providing money through Medicare to hospitals that are poorly rated through the HCAHPS system.
Legislation was so serious about the importance of hospital cleanliness that in 2002 the passed a legislature stated that if the hospital had poor ratings based on the HCAHPS system that they would be limited on the amount of reimbursement money that they would be able to receive from Medicare.
"During this hospital stay, how often were your room and bathroom kept clean?" This is one of the most important questions on the 27 question survey that makes up the HCAHPS system.
Most people assume that a hospital is clean and will not complain unless they blatantly see something that bothers them. There are a few things that every patient and their families should be aware of and check to make sure that they are practiced at the hospital.
Soiled and dirty sheets should be removed immediately. When you are living in your bed like you do in a hospital your sheets can become dirty rather quickly. It is important to have clean sheets placed on your bed regularly and have soiled sheets removed immediately.
The bathroom should be clean and tidy. It is one thing when you have guests over and did not have time to clean the water ring out of the bottom of your sink. It is another thing when ill patients are sharing a bathroom one after another. The bathroom should be thoroughly cleaned so that it is spotless upon arrival and be cleaned often during your stay.
The tile should look like new and smell clean. Tile and grout are one of the dirtiest places in a hospital. This is why most hospitals have gone to having their tile and grout professionally cleaned and then sealed. This is because it is impossible to clean tile and grout easily due to its porous nature unless all the contaminants have already been sealed outside of it.
Mop water should not be shared from room to room.
Check the mop that is being used. A microfiber mop is best for helping to prevent the spread of contaminants throughout a hospital. Some hospitals simply do not have the money in their budget to change all of their mops to microfiber, so if this is the case they should make sure to thoroughly clean each mop head between rooms and get clean mop water.
The HCAHPS carries a heavy load in the hospital world, and hospitals know how important it is to have a good rating. This is why many of them are working hard to correct issues that they have had in the past in order to raise their rating with the HCAHPS system.