Though cleanliness and hygiene are upheld as universal principles, they are of double importance in the medical setting. Bacteria, viruses, and other types of pathogens are rife in hospitals and clinics; if left to fester, they can contaminate the environment and compromise the health and safety of people who work in and use these medical facilities.

That is the reason why medical personnel are held to a premium standard. They know the value of cleanliness and hygiene in preserving the good work they do among patients. Clean and germ-free workspaces provide optimum conditions to saving lives and curbing additional dangers that come with illness and injury.

A comprehensive approach to maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in these facilities should involve the following: cleaning and sanitizing the environment, cleaning and sanitizing shared medical equipment, and advocating best practices to everyone who goes in and out of the medical setting.

For those working in the medical profession, here are our six key tips toward achieving all of these.

Employ checklists for cleaning and sanitizing

To better operationalize the cleanup of the medical facility, distribute “to-do” lists to the facility’s cleaning personnel, specifying each area that will need cleaning at particular times: the clinic proper, the operating theater, the restroom, the reception area, and the like. Make sure that cleaning schedules are regularly observed, and are known by the attending doctors, nurses, and administrative staff. In addition, keep an inventory of when cleaning supplies need to be replenished.

Sterilize all shared medical equipment

Power medical tools like drills, shavers, saws, or microdebriders absolutely must be sterilized after every use. This is to destroy any accumulating tissue and microorganisms, as well as to maximizing the service life of each tool. These medical devices with sterilizable mini motors are capable of withstanding the high-pH of cleaning detergents used in many medical-grade washers, as well as the high pressure and high-temperature steam generated by sterilizing autoclaves and thermal disinfectors. Any damage that can cause equipment failure should be brought immediately to the attention of these devices’ manufacturers.

Make soap and hand sanitizer easily accessible

Regular hand washing and sanitizing is one of the easiest and most important ways to curb the spread of infectious agents. Ensure that soap is quickly refilled in the washroom. Also have hand sanitizer and alcohol readily available for the use of patients and visitors, especially in spaces such as the reception desk, the nurse’s stations, and hospital hallways.

Make waste disposal easy

Improperly disposed waste may be one of the biggest culprits of contamination and infection in medical facilities. Prevent the spread of infection by making waste disposal and segregation easy for patients and staff. Clearly label each disposal bin for its purpose, such as for soiled waste tissue paper and bandages or contaminated fluids. For easier distinction, you can also color-code each bin according to the guidelines provided by your national or local health agency. Make sure that the bins are also emptied and cleaned out at regular intervals.

Enforce proper dress code and hygiene among personnel

Advocate cleanliness and hygiene as being professional and part of everyone’s service commitment to patients. All medical workers should report in a timely manner in clean and neatly pressed uniforms, with sanitized hands and trimmed nails, and wearing the prescribed hair nets, face masks, or sterilized gloves.

Lay out reminders for the public

Lastly, make cleanliness and hygiene a public initiative to be followed by patients as well as medical personnel. Furnish the facility with colorful, appealing, and easy-to-read posters or flyers. These can detail the importance of washing and sanitizing hands, or provide instructions on proper waste disposal. Tack these up near the facility’s entrance, at the reception desk, or in the washroom. That way, even the youngest patients can learn about cleanliness and hygiene, and how these contribute to their overall health.

Here’s to working together for greater cleanliness and hygiene—together as medical professionals, and side by side with patients!