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Your Secret Weapon in War on HAIs

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 1, 2012

Initially the results weren't very good, Gonzaga says, and only 50%-60% of high-touch areas were cleaned. One housekeeper wept when she was told that her patient rooms failed inspections. "She was upset because she felt like she did not do a good job. She said 'I clean this room like it is my own house,'" Gonzaga says.

"We told her the goal is not to punish you when we do these inspections, but to make sure we can identify the housekeepers who need to be retrained so they can be consistent in their jobs and make our hospital safer."

Ben Modica, manager of environmental services at Swedish Covenent, says the 80 or so people on cleaning staff have come to embrace the inspections because they "understand why we are doing what we are doing and that we want their opinion. We could be dictators and tell them to do this and that. But they need to know why and sometimes they have better methods than we do."

In addition to improved safety, Modica says the engagement with cleaning crew has improved retention. "Since I have been here, the turnover has been very low. I don't have the exact numbers, but I know because I do the hiring," he says.

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