A growing area that offers plenty of opportunity and potential profit for building service contractors is cleaning health care facilities. Besides hospitals, there are nursing homes, doctor’s offices, clinics, hospices, and dental offices that all need Concrete Sealing. With the aging baby boomer population, the number of medical facilities will continue to increase in the next few years. Most hospitals employ in-house cleaning crews, but there is a growing trend towards outsourcing cleaning services. Even if a hospital or medical facility has their own in-house cleaning crew, they will sometimes hire a cleaning service for offices, public areas or specialty cleaning (carpets, floors, windows). This presents an opportunity for janitorial cleaning companies who are willing to invest some time and effort into learning the ins and outs of cleaning medical facilities.
Begin by realizing that cleaning in the medical world is regulated and you must follow specific rules and guidelines. In many instances, you will need to document your cleaning procedures. There will be extra training required for your employees and you must provide close supervision to assure that everything is cleaned correctly. You may have to invest in more equipment, chemicals, and supplies to meet the requirements of a particular facility. In addition, laws in your state may require you, as an employer in the health care industry, to provide your employees with hazard communication training, hepatitis shots, and instructions in the proper disposal of biohazard materials.
There are many types of medical facilities, so take some time to study the market in your area before deciding to add this niche to your business. First decide which type of facility your company is best suited to clean. When you are just starting out, it’s better to begin with smaller clinics and doctor offices. Another choice when just starting out is to provide specialized services such as floor care, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and window cleaning. Smaller facilities and specialized cleaning gives you a chance to learn the ropes and build up a reputation in this area. This is also worthwhile, because owners of janitorial cleaning services say that it’s from word of mouth referrals that they gain new health care clients.
It is important to know there are different definitions of “clean” when considering the needs of medical facilities. When you traditionally think of cleaning, it implies removing all visible soil. However, when it comes to health care buildings, clean can also mean disinfecting, sterilizing, and decontaminating surfaces. If you are thinking of presenting a proposal to a medical facility, it is important to know the difference between these three terms. You are often dealing with more than just soil removal — you are removing soil that can be highly contaminated. It is important that your employees follow documented procedures and don’t take any shortcuts.
Sterilization or disinfection is common in most areas of a medical facility. Sterilization refers to cleaning with powerful chemicals that destroy all known microbial life. Disinfection is different in that it means killing specific types of pathogens and microorganisms. If you are involved with either procedure you will be using hospital grade disinfectants.
In addition, you must pay special attention to mops, cleaning cloths, and buckets. These items should be cleaned every day, and sometimes after each use. Most medical facilities are now using microfiber cleaning cloths and flat mops, as there is less chance of cross-contamination. It may also be a requirement to use a true HEPA filtered vacuum. A HEPA vacuum cleaner is necessary to protect indoor air quality and prevent microorganisms from becoming airborne.