Challenges of cleaning senior homes and assisted living facilities
Cleaning senior home and assisted living facilities can often be brushed aside as an additional service which does not directly contribute to the provision of resident care. However, it takes only the most casual brushing of the surface to reveal that much like a hospital, cleanliness is integral to the safe delivery of medical services. Furthermore, the way in which the cleaning is carried out can have a profound impact on a facility’s standards, efficiency, vibe and bottom line.
Yet for commercial cleaners, senior homes and assisted living facilities are not just another office in a different shaped building. There are several things which make the cleaning of aged care facilities truly unique.
Personal care homes and assisted living is one of relatively few industries which requires all cleaning work to happen during daylight hours. While this may constitute atypical working hours for the average cleaner, the real challenge is created by the people present while the cleaning happens.
A far greater level of attention and care is required on the cleaner’s part – not out of concern for prying eyes – but due to the increased risk of slips trips and falls. While most cleaners are accustomed to powering through the small hours on an autopilot setting of sorts, day cleaning in an senior home facility means navigating far more variable elements including residents, staff, visitors and any objects or equipment they use or interact with, within that environment. This calls for a far higher degree of awareness of not only personal movement, but also the positioning of buckets, power cords and other cleaning equipment as work is undertaken.
Working around people
The other critical aspect of cleaning during the day which cannot be overstated, is the extent to which cleaners become part of the facility’s day-to-day world. Residents will see their cleaner as often as they do many of the nurses or other assisted care staff. In effect this means the cleaner’s demeanor and ability to suitably interact with these residents and their visitors will ultimately contribute to feeling and culture of the facility in much the same as if they were involved in the direction provision of care.
Cleaners working in an aged care environment also need to intelligently exercise tact and discretion out of respect for residents’ privacy, know when to alert others of a need for medical assistance, and be mindful to keep the things they encounter within the facility confidential.
Senior homes and assisted living facilities are bound by their own highly prescriptive cleaning standards, and rightly so. There is no room for a margin of error in an environment where delicate immune systems are paired with the potential for rapid cross-contamination if standards are not adhered to strictly.
Few other industries are subject to both audits and unannounced visits to inspect their compliance to defined standards, with the facility’s accreditation and ability to continue accepting new residents on the line if a breach is found.