How to Avoid Cross Contamination in Long Term Care Facilities

According to, cross-contamination is defined as the passing of bacteria, microorganisms, or other harmful substances indirectly from one patient to another through improper or unsterile equipment, procedures, or products. Let’s face it, bacteria and microorganisms can be found everywhere but most of the time our bodies have strong defenses that keep us healthy. However in Long Term Care facilities there are greater risks because there are all different walks of life coming and going through these facilities.  Short of supplying a mask and gloves to all visitors, the first line of defense is to remind residents, staff and visitors to follow the golden rules our parents taught us …

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze

As an Administrator or a Janitorial Manager/Buyer there are other ways to encourage and protect your residents and staff from cross contamination …

  • Encourage Good Cleaning Practices by following these 3 R’s
    • Write a program that defines a critical touch point cleaning program.
    • Review the guidelines with your staff, so that they understand how the facility will be measured.
    • Record – using a facility survey, audit the cleanliness in resident rooms and common areas.
      • Use ATP meters to swab critical touch points and obtain readings – (You cannot manage what you cannot measure)
        • Bed Rails
        • Door Handles
        • Headboards and Footboards
        • Restroom Touch Points
        • Chair Arms
  • Keep Linens Clean
    • Use a chemical provider that offers a complete product offering with training, procedures and support.
    • Make sure slippers and socks are removed before putting residents feet in bed
    • Replace pillows when they become visibly soiled or fall on the floor.
  • Reduce Clutter – clutter makes it hard for janitorial staffs to do their job:
    • Limit personal items
    • Keep items off the floor and away from waste containers
    • Have a waste container near beds


reducing cross contamination

Remember the facility janitorial staff contributes to the well-being of patients just as much as the medical staff.  Good cleaning practices, keeping linens clean and reducing clutter helps avoid cross contamination and is conducive to healthy residents and staff.

Ken Sensel is the Product Manager of General Cleaning, Chemical Management Systems and Healthcare products for the Betco Corporation. He is passionate about creating a cleaner more sustainable future through products, and programs that you inspire and we innovate. In his personal time Ken enjoys competing in ½ marathons, Toastmasters and spending time with his family. Click here to contact Ken directly.


One thought on “How to Avoid Cross Contamination in Long Term Care Facilities

  1. Anonymous

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.


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