Before your survey, you need to submit your organization's written policies that describe your cleaning processes. Your surveyor should ask to see this prior to the survey to familiarize themselves with your policies.
Your HME cleaning processes and policies should address:
- How dirty equipment is received and cleaned/disinfected.
- What types of cleaners are used for equipment and where is the cleaning process is performed?
- How items are stored to prevent contamination, how you separate clean and dirty equipment and that there is signage to reflect the separation.
- A description of cleaning methods used.
- Documentation that personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to all appropriate staff.
- How equipment cleaning is documented (log book, computer file, tagging system).
Your surveyor will tour your warehouse area and review the area where returned equipment is cleaned to verify that your policies are being followed and that they are appropriate. During the tour a surveyor typically might:
- Ask you to explain how various pieces of equipment are cleaned and returned to patient-ready status.
- Observe the cleaning process or ask the staff to describe the process verbally or even perform a “mock cleaning.”
- Expect your staff to be able to explain your process and articulate how equipment is cleaned, where it is stored and how clean and dirty equipment is kept separate in the warehouse and during transport in delivery vehicles.
- Ask where the personal protective equipment (PPE) is located and how it is used.
- Ask to look at the various cleaners you use in equipment processing.
- Ask to see Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the cleaners, disinfectants and other chemicals you use in this process.
Staff who perform cleaning should be thoroughly trained in the cleaning procedure, know how to use PPE and should have received training in blood borne pathogens and infection control.
Finally, make sure that your cleaning policies and procedures meet law and regulation and that you follow manufacturer’s recommendations/guidelines. Some equipment manufacturers have specific guidelines, and your policies and procedures should meet or exceed them. For example, some states have specific cleaners/disinfectants that are required to be used on upholstered material (such as mattresses and wheelchair cushions). If your state has specific requirements, be sure that you are compliant.
Overall, just make sure your staff members follow your cleaning procedures and you’ll have a clean, safe and organized environment to show the surveyor. More importantly, you’ll have a clean, safe and organized environment to work in — which is really what it is all about.
In order to check staff members' understanding and knowledge of cleaning processes and procedures, download a list of creative ideas to present at your next all staff meeting below.