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What is housekeeping? 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, housekeeping is:

  • the care and management of property and the provision of equipment and services (as for an industrial organization)
  • the routine tasks that must be done in order for a system to function or to function efficiently

Why is housekeeping training important in the hyperbaric medicine suite? 


Effective housekeeping training can eliminate workplace hazards 


According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace hazards in a healthcare facility include exposure of employee or housekeeping staff to: 

  • Blood or other potentially infectious materials 
  • Contaminated equipment or laundry
  • Contaminated sharps and containers
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Wet floors, and possible slips, trips, and falls

Besides meeting housekeeping requirements to prevent workplace hazards established by OSHA, hyperbaric facilities must comply with the 2012 NFPA 99 requirements. 

The NFPA 99 chapter 14 - 14.3.6.4 is states that  A housekeeping program shall be implemented, whether or not the facility is in regular use”.

A.14.3.6.4 provides some clarity to 14.3.6.4 – “ It is absolutely essential that all areas of, and components associated with, the hyperbaric chamber be kept meticulously free of grease, lint, dirt and dust."

The NFPA 99 2012 edition gives us further guidance regarding the required training for the housekeeping personnel.  According to NFPA 99, 14.3.6.4.1:

The persons assigned to the task of housekeeping shall be trained in the following:

  • Potential damage to the equipment from cleaning procedures
  • Potential personal injury
  • Specific cleaning procedures
  • Equipment NOT to be cleaned

While the NFPA 99 2012 chapter 14 and UHMS Accreditation probes HBOM 4.12 and 4.12.1 mandates the training, practical experience has proven that structured, recurrent and documented training for the housekeeping team is time well spent. 

The responsibility of ongoing training and ensuring competency for clinicians and the housekeeping team can be challenging.  Staff turn-over, vacations, busy clinic schedules and the lack of desire to have “another meeting” are common obstacles. None of which however, are acceptable excuses to avoid performance of competency training. As we have seen on another blog article, Quality of Care Requires Ongoing Competency Evaluations. Regularly scheduled training should be documented for all participants, including the housekeeping team, and maintained in a Safety Training notebook in the hyperbaric facility.

Resources

The WoundReference Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy Knowledge Base features guidelines to promote high standards of patient care and operational safety within the hyperbaric program and other important tools. The WoundReference Curbside Consult gives you actionable, specific clinical and reimbursement answers from our expert panel in a timely manner, including answers on how to train your housekeeping team. 

For customized safety programs and other wound care and hyperbaric medicine consultation services, visit MidWest Hyperbaric

Acknowledgement

We thank Julie Rhee ScM, for style editing

About the Authors

Jeff Mize, RRT, CHT, UHMSADS
Jeff is a Principal Partner with Midwest Hyperbaric LLC and is the Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer for Wound Reference. Jeff is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, a Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology, a Certified Wound Care Associate (CWCA) by the American Academy of Wound Management. After receiving primary hyperbaric training from National Baromedical Services he trained as a UHMS Safety Director and is a UHMS Facility Accreditation Surveyor. He is the 2010 recipient of the Gurnee Award and the 2013 recipient of the Paul C. Baker Award for Hyperbaric Oxygen Safety Excellence. He has also served on the UHMS Board of Directors (2010-2015) In 2020, Jeff received "The Associates Distinguished Service award (UHMSADS). "This award is presented to individual Associate member of the Society whose professional activities and standing are deemed to be exceptional and deserving of the highest recognition we can bestow upon them . . . who have demonstrated devotion and significant time and effort to the administrative, clinical, mechanical, physiological, safety, technical practice, and/or advancement of the hyperbaric community while achieving the highest level of expertise in their respective field. . . demonstrating the professionalism and ethical standards embodied in this recognition and in the UHMS mission.”
Tiffany Hamm, BSN, RN, CWS, ACHRN, UHMSADS
An Advanced Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse and Certified Wound Specialist with expertise in billing, coding and reimbursement specific to hyperbaric medicine and wound care services. UHMS Accreditation Surveyor and Safety Director. Principal partner of Midwest Hyperbaric LLC, a hyperbaric and wound consultative service. Tiffany received her primary and advanced hyperbaric training through National Baromedical Services in Columbia South Carolina. In 2021, Tiffany received the UHMS Associate Distinguished Service Award
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