The cleaning staff have received specialist training to enhance their skills to clean and decontaminate equipment traditionally cleaned by nursing staff.
The training not only makes the most of their potential, but helps free up nurses to spend more time on patient care. It’s also resulted in a quicker turnaround of beds for patients, and improved ward cleanliness.
The domestic team in Ward B took on the nurses’ cleaning duties over a two-month period, and the pilot is now being assessed further before potentially being rolled out across the health board.
Currently, nursing staff clean beds, mattresses, patient lockers and other patient care equipment.
But during the Ward B trial the domestic team cleaned all surfaces in the room, beds, mattresses and all patient equipment including lockers, chairs, pumps, oxygen and suction units.
Rob Daniel, Deputy Head of Support Services, said: “We have looked at the work around domestic staff taking on some of the cleaning functions made by nursing staff.
“That evolved into having a full-time person on the ward, undertaking all of the cleaning that would be completed by nursing staff on a daily basis.
“Previously, we had experienced delays for our domestic team to undergo the deep clean processes as nurses were not able to complete their routine clean as they were looking after patients. It was hindering the process and patient flow.
“But the trial showed a quicker turnaround in beds. Beds are now ready within 20-30 minutes whereas before it would have taken over an hour, so it has improved patient flow.
“We worked in conjunction with infection control colleagues to ensure the standard of cleaning was correct, and we have recorded improved general cleanliness of the ward area.
“The nursing team can now concentrate on their core functions in terms of patient care.
“The trial has received very positive feedback from both the domestic and ward nursing teams.”
Rhiannon Jones, Deputy Head of Nursing T&O and Spinal, praised the trial. She said: “This has been a hugely positive step for Ward B.
“A lot of nurses’ time is taken up with essential cleaning tasks on the ward, in particular the equipment used by patients.
“Cleaning equipment on the ward is very important for patient safety and effective decontamination of equipment is a really important part of our infection control standards. It is also very time consuming for nursing staff.
“When nurses are undertaking cleaning tasks they are not spending that time with patients delivering hands-on essential basic care, such as feeding and supporting with the essential activities of daily living
“With the introduction of the enhanced domestic role on Ward B to undertake the cleaning duties previously undertaken by the nurse, this has released the nursing time to focus on the patient hands on care and is helping us improve the quality of care for our patients on ward B.
“Wards are very busy places with many patients coming in and out of bed spaces in a day, which also impacts the amount of cleaning the nurses need to do. Wards can also become cluttered very quickly and that can have an impact on the ability to clean properly.
“The improvements made to the general cleanliness of the ward over the last eight weeks have been fantastic.
“The team-working between the domestics and the nurses on Ward B has been great to see. Everyone is happy with the improvements in standards and the positive impact it is having on our patients.”
(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)