Ensuring that our wards and departments are kept clean is vital to preventing the spread of infections and something we take very seriously.
If a patient has an infection that could possibly be transmitted to another patient, additional cleaning, isolation and barrier nursing is carried out in line with national guidance on infection control.
Every area has a matron who is a very senior nurse who, together with ward managers, liaises closely with the cleaning services team to keep high standards of cleanliness. All patient areas have at least one member of domestic staff who perform routine cleaning duties on a daily basis, and a rolling programme of other cleaning tasks. Cleaning schedules are reviewed regularly.
We would appreciate it if patients and visitors would help us to keep the hospital clean and tidy by disposing of any litter thoughtfully.
If you have any concerns about the standard of cleanliness on any of our wards please do not hesitate to let staff know at the time, so they can be dealt with promptly or contact the Service Manager on 01204 390547.
24 hour cover
The Trust has access to cleaning services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Routine cleaning is available between 7a.m. – 10p.m. Monday to Friday, and 7a.m. – 8p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Outside of these hours there is a small team available to provide help with any urgent problems and to maintain cleanliness in A&E and our assessment wards.
All ward beds are cleaned weekly between Monday and Friday by the ward domestic. A colour coded tagging system was introduced to ensure no bed or trolley is ever missed.
In addition to this all public areas are patrolled every day between the hours of 8a.m. – 9.pm. This team ensures all corridors, stairs and public toilets are regularly cleaned and have a sufficient supply of soap and hand towels. The alcohol gel dispensers are checked and refilled as required and any spillages are dealt with. The team also provides this service to all the outpatient areas. The staff record and complete a check list in all public toilets when they have cleaned them. The Trust has a rolling programme of deep cleaning which means that all hospital beds, A&E trolleys, ward furniture and equipment are steam cleaned.
How we ensure these standards are maintained
We monitor this in a number of ways. ISS Facility Services follow a 13 week plan so that standards of cleanliness are monitored across all areas of the hospital. High priority areas such as A&E, Intensive Care Unit, High Dependency Unit and Theatres and emergency assessment wards are monitored on a weekly basis, wards and clinical areas are monitored monthly and other areas are then monitored every 13 weeks.
The Estates and Facilities Patient Experience Team carry out monthly audits of cleanliness of wards, outpatient areas and public areas in line with the National Standards of Cleanliness. As part of their audit the team checks the cleanliness of the built environment, cleanliness of patient equipment and appropriate disposal of clinical waste at ward level. Data is compiled from the audits and a formal report is presented to each ward/department manager for their sign off and cascade of any corrective actions required within their department. An audit report on the cleanliness of the built environment is forwarded to ISS Facility Services for the records and corrective actions.
A formal letter is sent to the divisional professional leads and matrons detailing the overview of the inspection. Matrons and ward managers also conduct quality rounds on a regular basis, which include checking the cleanliness of areas.
Overarching all these arrangements are the yearly Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE) inspections that the hospital participates in, having a minimum ratio of 50% patient representation to Trust staff.
How we maintain quality of care on the wards
In 2007 our senior nurses and midwives developed a uniform approach to ensuring consistency in care on the wards. From this the Exemplar Ward Programme was developed which involves an intensive three month project to start the process.
A Productive Ward Programme launched by the Department of Health complements our internal exemplar programme. The areas of quality improvement for ward management and patient care are based on lean principles that we follow, and are all incorporated into the Exemplar Ward Programme.
On completion of the programme a thorough inspection visit takes place after which exemplar status can be awarded. Assessment is repeated on an annual basis. If all standards are not met then an action plan will be put in place to ensure compliance is achieved.
Since 2009 the programme has been adapted to incorporate clinical departments.
The Exemplar Ward and Department Programme
The Exemplar Ward and Department Programme is linked to the Trust’s three main aims (Best Care for Better Health, Valued, Respected and Proud, and Responsible Use of Resources), as well as key local and national initiatives. The anticipated benefit is to bring all our wards to a baseline standard of the highest delivery of care, underpinned by enhanced competency and awareness of patient safety and quality improvement.
Achievement boards are displayed on each ward. This is a visual way of showing staff, patients and visitors what work the team are doing to provide excellent standards of care and incorporate the standards we expect of an Exemplar Ward. The boards are divided into sections that cover the Trust’s three main aims:
- Best Care for Better Health
Information in this section includes how the team are doing in maintaining high standards of infection prevention and control. This is shown through recording the results from hand hygiene audits and the monitoring of health care associated infections as well as levels of relevant training.
A quality framework tool has been developed based on fundamental care needs and the Department of Health Essence of Care benchmarks, and they are used to identify areas that the team is doing well in, as well as areas that it may need to focus some improvement work on.
- Valued, Respected and Proud
We know that it is important for staff to be happy in their work, so this section includes a ‘spot check’ about how staff feel. It also provides evidence of patient feedback and where relevant actions have been taken to improve this experience.
- Responsible Use of Resources
This area of the board looks at the efficient use of resources. Staff are required to look at many aspects, such as the physical environment and equipment, products used in relation to cost effectiveness and general processes where waste can be minimised.
How we monitor these standards ‘Go and See’
The Trust has in place a strong infrastructure to support the exemplar programme, which includes 21 matrons across the Trust. Within the matrons’ job roles, they visit their wards daily and at least weekly and carry out a ‘quality round’. The quality round involves talking to patients and their families about their experience. The matrons also review the achievement boards with the ward sister to discuss and explore the progress of the team.
Visible Leadership through ‘Go and See’
There are professional leads in each division. As part of this role they conduct a rota of ‘Go and See’ visits across their wards and departments to consider the operational issues. Through these visits the professional lead has an overview of the ward leadership and can check that the standards are being maintained. This is reported to the professional meeting through the Associate Director of Professional Standards and Patient Experience.
Executive ‘Go and Sees’
There is a calendar of ‘Go and See’ visits for all members of the Board of Directors, including the Chief Executive and Director of Patient Safety and Experience/Chief Nurse.
When they visit wards they talk with staff about how well the ward is doing and they ask staff how they feel about working, as well as exploring patient safety. They particularly like to talk to patients and ask them about their experience.
Patient-led assessments of the care environment (PLACE) (links to external website)
Patient-led assessments of the care environment (PLACE) is the new system for assessing the quality of the hospital environment, which replaces Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) inspections from April 2013.
The Productive Ward (links to external website)
Following a period of intensive testing and development with a number of acute trusts in England, the NHS Institute has now launched a series of modules that enable ward staff to increase the time spent on direct patient care.