Cleaning as a Caregiver
Routine housekeeping is an important part of caring for a loved one as a caregiver. Their environment should be clean and safe from hazards at all times. This is even moreso during these times of Covid. Keeping everything disinfectied is imperative for a healthy environment for your loved ones.
The Importance of a Clean Environment
A clean environment is an important part of life. Clutter, disorder, dirt, and odors are health and safety hazards. They increase the risk of infections, diseases, and accidents that can interfere with daily living. Now, more than ever, it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces that your loved ones touch every day that could be a source of contamination. Keeping everything neat and clean keeps the germs at bay and provides your family member with a safe and orderly environment.
Responsibilities of the Home
Housekeeping responsibilities include care of the immediate environment—usually the bedroom and the bathroom. The care may call for general cleaning throughout the house. These may include cleaning the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, and doing the laundry.
Developing a Work Plan
Developing a work plan is important. Your first priority is caring for your loved one, so you are not able to spend a lot of time on housekeeping duties. An hour should be enough time to complete routine tasks. Typical responsibilities should include the following:
Clean the bedside commode after every use, if one is in the room. Make the bed and change all linens daily and when they are soiled. Wipe down all objects with disinfectant, sweep, mop, or vacuum daily. Empty wastebasket and replace liners daily. Pick up any clutter on the floor to ensure the area is safe from falls.
Maybe private or shared with other members of the family. Clean the toilet daily, clean the tub and shower after each use. In some situations, it may be necessary to clean them before your patient uses them. Change and launder all bath linen as necessary. Replace toilet tissue, soap, and facial tissue as needed and empty wastebasket. Put away anything on counters that may have dangling cords, as these are a safety risk if they fall into water from the sink or toilet. Electric razors, hair dryers, and etc. should be put away after every use.
Kitchen or family kitchen
Wipe down all surfaces and keep all dishes washed and sink wiped out. Sweep or vacuum and mop as needed. Clean the refrigerator, and remove and discard trash.
Vacuum carpets, dust furniture, water plants, and discard trash. Follow your work plan, but remember to be flexible. Your patient’s personal physical needs must come first, and sometimes you will need to adjust your plan of work. If your patient has soiled the bed linens, you must change them, even if that is not on your schedule for that day.
Final thoughts on Cleaning
Your loved onw may need a bath, clean clothing, and his or her personal laundry done. Organize your work, straighten up as you go along. Once you begin a task, finish what you are doing. Begin with the worst room first. Both the kitchen and bathroom require careful cleaning. Everything should be disinfected daily. Work around the room until you are finished. Always work from the cleanest to the dirtiest area.
Besides having a cleaning plan, you should have a schedule for cleaning certain areas on certain days. An example of a cleaning schedule might look something like this:
Cleaning Supplies You Will Need
Before beginning any job you should have all of your supplies within easy reach. The best way to do this is to have a cleaning caddy that holds all of your cleaning rags, spray cleaner, and sponges. It will make your tasks easy and faster to have everything you need in one place. You can get a plastic storage caddy with a handle or use an old bucket, if you have one. That way you can take the bucket from room to room and save yourself a lot of unnecessary steps.
Assembling your Supplies
- Glass cleaner
- Furniture polish
- Rubber gloves
- Two-sided Sponge (with a scrubby side)
- Cleaning rags (old cloth diapers, terry washcloths, t-shirts, cut up towels).
- Microfiber cloths
- Paper towels
- Bathroom cleaner
- Floor cleaner and/or polish
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER!
- Always wear gloves.
- Have a cleaning plan.
- Perform each job correctly from top to bottom (except on walls), clean to dirty.
Workaround the room along the walls, come in the door, turn to the right, and begin cleaning; continue until you are back at the door again. After you clean and vacuum or sweep the floors, make sure to check that rugs are smooth and flat and do not pose a safety risk.
Cords should not be underneath rugs where they could make your loved one fall or trip over the obstruction. Likewise, ensure that walkways are free of obstacles and that everything is in its place. When you are finished with the cleaning chores, put the caddy in a safe place, pout away the vacuum, and remove your gloves and wash your hands.
When everything is clean and organized it makes caregiving so much more easier. Keeping to a cleaning schedule and having the necessary supplies on hand to do the job will make your cleaning chores go by fast. All it takes is a few minutes per day to keep the environment around you and your loved ones clean and sanitary. When you’re all finished with the chores, go outside and do something enjoyable. Take your loved one out for a picnic or play some card games to keep them engaged.