Hospital Cleanliness Impacts Overall Patient Experience

Patients' perceptions of a hospital's cleanliness can have a major impact on their overall care and hospital experience, according to a new study.

Patients’ perceptions of a hospital’s cleanliness can have a major impact on their overall care and hospital experience, according to a new study. Specifically, the data show correlations between patients’ perceptions of room cleanliness and three important categories: the risk of hospital-acquired infections; a hospital’s score on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey; and scores on the HCAHPS teamwork indicators.

hospital cleanliness
Credit: Jupiterimages

“It’s no surprise that cleanliness is an outcome that really matters to patients and their families,” said Compass One Healthcare CEO Bobby Kutteh. “But the research connects the importance of a hospital’s Environmental Services team to the overall patient experience and how their performance can affect a hospital’s brand.”

The findings are part of a new strategic partnership between Compass One Healthcare and Press Ganey. Compass One Healthcare is comprised of Morrison Healthcare food and nutrition services and Crothall Healthcare support services companies. The partnership is designed to enable Compass One to deliver more patient-centric care experiences.

Because patients are more likely to recommend a hospital they perceive to be clean, it makes cleanliness a target for improvement for all hospitals.

“The overall patient experience is affected by every interaction in a patient’s health care journey, whether directly or indirectly involved in the delivery of care,” said James Merlino, MD, President and CMO, Strategic Consulting, Press Ganey. “How patients perceive the cleanliness of their care environment can not only influence key drivers of patient loyalty, but also enable the delivery of safe, high quality, and effective care through a reduced risk of hospital acquired infections.”

According to the research, the strong correlation between patients’ perception of cleanliness and hospital-acquired infections supports the idea that patients can judge cleanliness. This finding validates the important role that a hospital’s Environmental Services (EVS) staff plays in patients’ evaluation of their hospital experience.

Hospitals seeking to distinguish themselves from competitors should help EVS staff members understand how the physical environment can influence the patient experience. The report recommends that hospital leaders and department managers do the following:

  • Recognize and value EVS workers as stakeholders in the delivery of safe, effective, quality care;
  • Consistently identify and employ evidence-based guidance and practices in EVS to optimize the cleanliness and perceived cleanliness of hospital rooms and common areas;
  • Reinforce accountability for service excellence among the EVS staff;
  • Foster a culture of teamwork, communication and collaboration between the EVS staff and other care givers.

The full report is available online.