Housekeepers, the unsung heroes of a hospital's wards, are today praised for their role in delivering an excellent service that helps provide patients with quality care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The hospital has 27 wards, caring for 1,000 in-patients, and many wards now have dedicated housekeepers who work with Ward Sisters and Modern Matrons to deliver an improved ward environment/patient experience in relation to cleanliness, catering, environment and hygiene.
Housekeepers support the delivery of clinical care and give patients what they want by:
- Helping ensure wards are clean
- Helping ensure that food is enjoyable and enjoyed
- Providing a warm and welcoming environment
- Helping protect patients’ privacy and dignity
- Applying a range of skills and knowledge that complement clinical skills and allow nurses to nurse.
The benefit to both patients and staff can be measured in different ways:
- Patients say they can ask a Housekeeper to sort something out without them feeling they have taken a nurse away from a more important job.
- Nurses are able to spend more time nursing patients and less time on monitoring stocks or catching up with laundry and linen supplies
- Cleaning standards have been increased and maintained
- Food wastage has decreased
- Savings have been made in clinical waste
- Patient and visitor complaints have reduced
- Job satisfaction is increased
- Actual time nurses can spend on clinical duties increased
- Minor maintenance repair times decreased
Housekeeper Linda Cooper works on Heydon ward and said: “We are here to make sure that everything’s there for the patients and to allow the nurses to spend more time caring for patients. I feel in love with the job as soon as I started, it’s fantastic. I’m always thinking of new things to do to improve the service we offer.”
Director of Resources Anna Dugdale said: “Housekeepers might not spring to mind when you think of a hospital but they do play an absolutely vital role getting the wards ready for patients and allowing the nursing staff to spend more time caring for patients. They do a great job and deserve recognition for the part they play in making our patients’ hospital stays as comfortable as possible. ”
The Department of Health made the housekeeping role part of the 10-year NHS plan to modernise and improve patient care.