Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cleanliness Matters: Own It



I know we use that term “cleanliness is next to godliness”, but it’s much more than that. It is a matter of life and death.

Consider This
The Current National Threshold (the score) for this domain, Cleanliness of Patient Rooms, is 62.8%. That is to say: how often does your hospital get rated at 4, which is “Always,” the highest score? Do you know what your current score is for cleanliness?

1.       Patient Perception equals HCHAPS scores. It’s not the way we think the hospital, bed, or bathrooms looks, it’s how the patient perceives the experience that will ultimately determine how they remember their experience (and how they’ll evaluate you on a scale of 1-4 on their HCAHPS survey).

2.    More importantly, a clean environment is a healthy environment. We want people to get better in as positive a manner as possible.
3.    Even more importantly, infections hurt and kill. 

So where do we begin to make a difference in cleanliness? It starts with each and every one of us!

Best Practices for HCAHPS Improvement Success

Lead by Example: Tammy McMann Brailsford - people spoke of her with reverence, awe, and enthusiasm. She was the Chief Nurse Officer at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California, and she led by example. If she saw dirt or garbage on the floor, she’d stop and pick it up. If the phone rang, she wouldn’t say, “Hey, somebody get the phone.” she answered the phone. She walked the talk of having a servant’s heart. She truly led by example in the way she wanted everybody to treat everybody else.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we want to see in the world.” We must model the behavior we want from others. What more appropriate message to send out when we’re talking about cleanliness for a gigantic, complex organization like a hospital.

Team Ownership: The cleanliness question on the HCAHPS survey is: “During this hospital stay, how often was your room and bathroom kept clean?” Remember, all of HCAHPS is about frequency of service. Who owns this?

Easy…everyone! All Administrators, the COO, Environmental Services, Housekeeping Directors, the CNO, Nurse Managers, Nurse Supervisors, Nurses, Housekeepers, CNA’s, Dietary, and anybody who visits the patients room. Everybody at the hospital must be engaged.

Here’s a simple quiz to quickly evaluate your personal ownership of cleanliness (HINT: Anything less than a “Yes” answer indicates room for ownership improvement):


  1. Whenever I walk through the parking lot and notice garbage on the ground, I always pick it up and throw it out.
  2. If I see empty wheelchairs or other obstacles blocking the hallways, I always take a moment to put them where they belong.
  3. If I notice wrappers, garbage, empty coffee cups, or other messes lying around, I always toss them in the nearest trash bin. 
  4. If I pass a patient’s room and notice a spill on the floor, I always make an effort to get the spill cleaned up as quickly as possible (by calling EMS, or getting a mop and bucket and cleaning it myself).
  5. I always treat others how I’d like to be treated.


One final thought:

When you walk the talk, watch how many people will follow your lead.

The Take Away
Just because you don’t work in housekeeping doesn’t mean you aren’t a housekeeper. Often, we can step in and do what’s necessary. Be willing to tidy up rooms and hallways on your own. We are all housekeepers. We are all life savers, and therefore we want to inspire other by our example. 

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