Keeping an assisted living facility clean isn’t simply a nice sentiment for a brochure or an act that’s good for monthly numbers. That’s worth saying straight away because the bulk of material out there about facilities offering elderly care seems to center primarily around those things.
These are feel-good topics that, aside from each piece being drowned out by a hundred like it, ultimately offer very little. If you’re the director of such a facility, none of that is news. And if you’re the son or daughter of a parent headed into an assisted living facility, that information is equally unhelpful.
Ethical responsibilities or moral implications aside, let’s get straight to a big talking point.
Lack of Cleanliness at Care Facilities Has Led To Lawsuits and Often Stems From Being Understaffed.
Aspects of the modern economy present challenges for assisted living facilities and those like them. From changes to what insurance and government support will cover (or won’t) and inflation, many of these facilities have felt the pressure to take cost-cutting measures.
Often that involves staff.
This is the sort of thing that can sneak up on a facility administrator, because it’s easy to looking at the status quo and feel like things are still being handled at an acceptable level. When that’s the case, the admin doesn’t feel the need to address staffing concerns, or may even feel like further cuts would be manageable.
In actuality what often happens is that little things fall through the cracks — the kind of things that don’t create obvious problems right away. And so here and there a corner is cut to finish checklists in the allotted shifts, which over time adds up to some real health concerns for patients.
Especially if it’s a patient or two in particular that, for whatever reason, are the ones for which corners are being cut.
- If staff members don’t fully and properly clean areas where food is prepared or eaten, for instance, there’s a chance the food can become contaminated.
- If high-touch objects like tables, chairs, and doors aren’t regularly sanitized — even if they’re only missed here or there — transmission of disease increases.
- Any neglect of bathrooms, or staff not regularly encouraging patients to wash their hands after using them, can increase transmission of disease.
Any time an interested party can establish a pattern of neglect in patient care and sanitation, it forms the basis for a lawsuit. Despite desires to cut costs, none of those measures are worth anything if they result in a costly lawsuit that likely outweighs any revenue previously saved.
Industry studies show that the biggest link to inadequate hygiene at nursing homes is understaffing.
Water Temperature Standards & Cleaning
This is another easily overlooked area that can lead to problems. Health codes for these types of facilities require a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit water to be used while washing linens, bedding, and towels. This ensures bacteria is killed off beyond what the soap is doing.
For dishes and kitchenware, typical applications are even hotter.
On the other hand, hot water for bathing should never be hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The use of limiters and controls is ideal here.