Michael Chandler // The Housekeeping Director
First off I want to say that I love it when CEO's, CFO's, and upper management or ownership step down into the shoes of our hourly associates especially housekeeping. In this video you'll see Bellstar Hotel and Resorts CEO step down to see how things are being done at their properties. Many times our Management companies hand down policies or changes to our hotel level Management team to carry them out without fully understanding what it takes to carry out the changes. Top Down management styles don't often work well in today's ever-changing society, and listening to your teams may just give you the competitive edge you need. Keep it up undercover Boss, I love it!
Michael Chandler // The Housekeeping Director
I'm sure you've all seen this before, but it's a great reminder that our teams need to focus on following cleaning guidelines. Simply walk around and watch your team as they clean, sometimes they won't even know you're there. It's important that you know what your team is doing. I've created a Job Observation Form, if you're interested in a copy just let me know, and I can email it to you.
Michael Chandler // The Executive Housekeeper
Housekeeping Managers please let your staff know how important it is to pay attention to your current guests in house.
As the eyes and ears of the hotel, Room Attendants can be an important part of your hotel security plan. So let your team know that they may be able to help discover or prevent what you're about to read.
Michael Chandler // The Housekeeping Director
FORT MYERS, FL -We are getting a closer look inside a Fort Myers hotel room where a toddler was found malnourished and living in her own waste. As we told you back in October, the child's mother, Binish Evans, was charged with neglect.
Fort Myers investigators took dozens of photos inside room 425 of the Candlewood Suites. They found receipts, flyers for concealed to carry classes, trash and the soiled blankets and clothes detectives say was on the two-year-old.
That is where investigators say two-year-old Addisyn Evans was found in a playpen crying, malnourished and living in her own waste.
Detectives say there was a blanket covering the open area underneath the bedroom door. According to hotel workers, a piece of tape was on the front and back of the door near the opening.
Investigators also took note of filth all throughout suite 425. They even found a syringe in a zip lock bag along with a box of medications. Piles of dirty clothes, shoes and even open beer bottles lay around the dining and living room area.
We went to home of Ryan Walls Friday night but it appeared he was not home.
Investigators found love letters penned from Walls to Evans. One neighbor remembers seeing Evans visit.
"I observed a woman just screaming and using terrible language," said neighbor Ginny Miller-Plaza.
Neighbors of Walls say they never saw the toddler but their hearts go out to the child who is now with her father in Texas.
"Poor kid, her life is ruined now. Very sad," said neighbor Dawn Trudell. Investigators say Evans and the toddler were living there for several months and owed the hotel $2,500 for her their stay.
According to investigators, Evans went by Isabella. Detectives spent $2,300 of taxpayer money on this investigation. A captain with the Fort Myers Police Department wants those funds paid back in full if Evans is sentenced.
Room Attendants bend their bodies 3,000 different ways while cleaning a room, and with all of the bending, lifting, and pushing, they should be warming up before their 8 hour day cleaning marathon.
Teach your team how important it is to warm up and stretch. I've found one company "not in the U.S." that has a training program designed for housekeepers. Here in the US design your own, your housekeepers may think your crazy at first, and from my experience they might not even try it, but it's worth it.
Have fun and go warm up.
Michael Chandler // The Housekeeping Director
Lycette & Associates is delighted to present some pre-work stretches designed specifically for Room Attendants by Konekt. These exercises help the Housekeeping team to warm up all the essential muscle groups before starting the very physical task of making up rooms. They take a few minutes but are well worth the effort.
Konekt is the largest private sector provider of organisational health and risk management solutions in Australia. Their focus is on helping organisations to keep their workforce safe, minimise the impact of workplace injury, rehabilitate or redeploy injured workers, while meeting regulatory and compliance obligations.
For more information on Room Attendant Training contact Josephine
Another Clean Article from Lee & Nicole at "Talk Clean To Me"
“OMG this disinfectant kills HIV!!!!” is a statement that I have encountered on more than one occasion. Needless to say, each time I’m presented with it I give a little chuckle. You see, for those of us with a rudimentary understanding of microbiology and more specifically how microorganisms interact with disinfectants, this is akin to stating that you’re surprised or relieved that a 12 gauge shotgun will be effective at killing a pesky mosquito.As Nicole highlighted in her blog posting “Strength is NOT always found in numbers”, there is a hierarchy in the microbial world with respect to the susceptibility of microbes to disinfection. HIV is but one of the numerous enveloped viruses that rank at the very bottom of this ladder. In other words, enveloped viruses – including HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Influenza A – are exceptionally easy to kill with disinfectants. In fact, not a single hospital grade disinfectant should have an issue in rapidly and effectively eradicating HIV and other enveloped viruses from the surface. Clearly HIV, HBV, HCV and Influenza remain very clinically relevant pathogens, however because they are so easily inactivated via disinfection, there is no need to focus so greatly on these as critically important disinfection claims. Instead, greater attention should be given to a disinfectant’s effectiveness at killing much more difficult, but equally relevant pathogens such as Norovirus or Rotavirus. As always Nicole and I hope that these little tidbits of information will assist you in making more informed decisions when selecting or evaluating disinfectants.
Hasta la vista!
Lee – The Germinator
Written by Nicole Kenney
While writing does not always come easy, one of the things I like most about writing the Talk Clean To Me Blog is that I can state my opinion in black and white with the hopes that some may agree and welcome the dialogue that occurs with those of you who think I’m completely off my rocker.
In the world of cleaning and disinfection, the science or proof some people rely on cannot keep up with the myriad of new products or processes that enter the market place. Does this mean that one should not consider changing products or processes until such time as there is statistically significant information published about these new products or processes? Most definitely not!
Let’s consider the pre-moistened disinfectant wipe. Are they new to the market? NO. Have they been used successfully at many facilities across the globe? YES. To ensure a successful infection prevention program, do we need to consider how to use them correctly to ensure the desired outcome? MOST DEFINITELY!
In a recent infection prevention and control guideline for environmental cleaning and disinfection the following statement was included:
“Disinfectant wipes should be used by the primary care giver for point of care cleaning and disinfecting of patient equipment. They should not be used as a routine cleaning disinfectant tool.”
Admittedly, for the sake of keeping the blog to a reasonable length, I have not included the entire section, however, should you take the time to read the guideline, you will find that it is vague and without any references to support its justification. While I agree wholeheartedly that all disinfectants must be used appropriately, the danger in making such a statement is that there is no strong scientific evidence to conclusively limit the use of pre-moistened wipes at this time. Perhaps instead, there should have been a more detailed discussion about the appropriate use of pre-moistened disinfecting wipes to ensure that they are used in such a fashion as to ensure contact time in accordance to the label is met. Many of the leading pre-moistened wipes available on the market are Quat-alcohol based products with anywhere from 2 to 5 minute contact times. As proven by science, such products will not remain on the surface for the contact time listed on the label as a result of the rapid evaporation rate of alcohol. In fact a study published byOmidbakhsh in 2010 in the Journal of AOAC Internationalinvestigated the discrepancy between drying time and contact time with respect to product efficacy. Additionally, there have been publications investigating the effects of wipes in contaminating surfaces providing compelling evidence that we want to use 1 wipe for each surface especially if using a weak or slow-acting disinfectant in the wipe where the true chances of achieving disinfection are limited at best.
That said, proper disinfection with such wipes can be achieved with the physical action of wiping provided the disinfectant itself has a good and rapid broad-spectrum microbicidal activity. Therefore, there has to be a change in our thinking with regards to contact time for wipes as opposed to longer contact times needed when just spraying or pouring a liquid on surfaces. Perhaps the conclusion should be that in choosing a pre-moistened disinfectant wipe, one must consider more than just the cost per wipe. There needs to be a more fulsome investigation as to the number of wipes needed to achieve the contact time as listed on the label. We need to review how the wipes will be utilized to ensure that good physical friction will be applied to help in removal of the pathogens from the surface, as well as frequent changing of such wipes to avoid redistributing the removed pathogens. Lastly, one cannot discount the size of the wipe. Certainly, the traditional wipes used in clinical areas for disinfecting patient care items such as BP Cuffs or Stethoscopes would not be recommended for use by Environmental Services due to their smaller size, however, most companies specializing in pre-moistened wipes provide larger options (10x10 inches or 12x12 inches) which are more than adequate for cleaning larger surfaces sizes.
Perhaps the use of pre-moistened disinfectant wipes is no different than the use of antibiotics? When prescribing antibiotics you need the right drug at the right concentration for the right length of time. For pre-moistened wipes you need the right claims, the right contact time and the right size to do the job.
So….am I off my rocker?
Another great blog post from "Talk Clean To ME", great work & No you can't borrow my pen! OK - Housekeeping Managers lets focus on wiping down those pens in the room...
M. Chandler // The Housekeeping Director
A study I recently came across by Halten et al of the University of Houston investigated the potential of writing pens as a source of transmission, which could be significant for hospital infection control practices when you consider the ubiquity of the instruments in healthcare facilities. As this is trade show season where sharing of pens is a virtual second by second occurrence, I was curious to find out just how contaminated pens could get.
For the study, the clinical investigators responsible for enrolling patients into a study investigating antibiotic associated diarrhea were given a new writing pen each day. They were then randomly assigned each day to clean the pen between patient visits while the non-intervention group did not clean the pens. After using the pen for the entire day to enroll patients, the investigators put the pen in a sterile labeled bag. The pens were then immediately transported to the laboratory. Four unused writing pens were used as controls to assure that pens were not previously contaminated with microorganisms.
Unfortunately the sample size in the study was quite small, just 23 pens (10 in the intervention group, and 13 in the non-intervention group), in addition to the four control pens. For each group, between 2 and 11 patients touched each pen, along with the assigned investigator. In the non-intervention group 12 of 13 pens showed bacterial growth compared with 4 of 10 pens in the intervention group. No growth was observed on control pens.
No Gram-negative bacilli, such as Pseudomonas spp.or E. coli, were identified in either group, which tells me that the investigators were being fastidious hand washers at least for the duration of the test. There was however a significant difference in the Gram-positive cocci, presumptively identified as Staphylococcus spp. and Enterococcus spp. in the intervention compared with the non-intervention group.
The study showed that cleaning/sanitizing the pens can significantly reduce the level of potential pathogenic bacteria. This is an important finding indicating that the risk of transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens can be decreased with the use of a sanitizing agent for wiping fomites such as writing pens between patients. The ability of bacteria to survive on pens for long durations of time emphasizes the need to clean equipment (i.e. pens) after patient contact.
Seeing as I head to the CHICA-Canada conference this Sunday, I think perhaps I'll pack extra pens and be sure NOT to share mine. I have a nasty habit of putting my pen in my mouth and I can't trust that everyone will be as fastidious in their hand washing as the clinical investigators in this study....
Hasta la vista!
Lee aka “The Germinator”
A wake up call to hiring managers - please do your background checks, it may not prevent the first timer, but it will save us, our guests, and our reputations from those with experience.
M. Chandler // The Housekeeping Direcetor
Emely Santiago, a housekeeper at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, is accused of stealing from guests.
A Walt Disney World hotel housekeeper is facing charges, accused of stealing from guests.
Orange County deputies said Emely Santiago stole a credit card and cash from a guest at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
They said the thefts happened in May and Santiago was caught when she tried to use the card at Walmart, located on U.S. 192 and Bass Road in Kissimmee.
Deputies said Santiago could be connected to other thefts at the resort, in which cash, medication, and jewelry were stolen from hotel rooms.
Santiago admitted to investigators that she had an addiction to pain medication following a domestic altercation in October 2012.
She has since bonded out of the Orange County Jail.
A good look for all Managers - See it from the guests perspective, and see the evidence. Managers need to pushing their owners, management companies, etc to use disinfectants on all surfaces.
Ramiro Hernandez, local Executive Housekeeper uses a disinfectant cleaner in all his rooms at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. We all must push to keep our rooms clean and safe for our staff, and guests.
From the desk in a hotel room being home to 400 times more bacteria than the toilet, to 10 per cent of the pillow being made of dust mites and their poo, there are some shocking facts you may not know about the typical hotel room.
The Healthy Hotels Program, which provides hotels in Australia and New Zealand with certification of their health and hygiene standards, explores the often overlooked facts to find out just how much hotels can affect health.
In pictures: World’s weirdest hotel rooms
“Health threats, germs and diseases are easiest to consider in order of how they reach our body. They are categorised by things we touch, the air we breathe and ‘auxiliary’ factors. Touch transmission remains the most common means of infection. Many viruses and bacteria are transmitted this way from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to the common cold.
In the guest room, door handles, swipe keys, carpet, glasses, light switches, remotes, key board, furniture, bedding, curtains, taps and fittings, the toilet, shower, ice bucket, refrigerator, chair, bed and pillows each present a potential for transmission.
The desk in a hotel room will be home to 400 times more bacteria than the toilet, the reason being that most toilets are disinfected, while furniture typically is not.
Equally one of the greatest potential threats to health in the guest room is the air we breathe. Human lungs are designed for exchange of gases and are comprised of a cellular surface area equivalent to the size of a tennis court. Oxygen passes over the membranes and directly into the bloodstream, as often do many contaminants with it. The resting adult will inhale between 10,000 to 20,000 liters of air per day including sleeping time, where the face and mouth are pressed directly onto the pillow.
Air can be home to any number of micro contaminants including mold spores, fine dust, pollen and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Some of the most dangerous air borne pollutants which are also the easiest to avoid, are air fresheners, pesticides and many conventional cleaning products.
The most common VOC sources in the guest room are cleaning chemical residue and the byproduct of a process called ‘off-gassing’. Typical of newer building materials such as fresh carpets or furniture, gases from the glues, sealants and coloring agents can leech into the air for a period of time, often being mistaken for that fresh new carpet smell.
Overall, any substance which is not considered toxic to the touch must be considered completely differently if inhaled. Only 30 per cent of contaminants inhaled are ever exhaled, the remainder are broken down by the body, usually within the liver.
Other auxiliary factors which have a bearing on our health and experience in the guest room include sleep habits, nutrition and electromagnetic fields (emf’s) which are often higher due to the presence of more electrical items per square meter than in a typical home. Wireless internet, mobile phones, microwaves and proximity to power outlets are just a few of the exposure points in the hotel room where we are likely to encounter emf’s.
While research in many areas remains divided and is almost always controversial, the evidence points to one common theme when considering emf’s and that is, the less you are exposed to, the better. Nutrition and hydration while in the guest room are areas where common sense has the opportunity to prevail, however the subject of sleep hygiene is still largely under publicized.
Exposure to bright light such as direct room lighting and device screens after sundown has been found to impact the level of melanin released within the body. This in turn can result in difficulty getting to sleep and a reduced sleep quality.
There’s no avoiding the fact that any indoor environment which is home to human activity will ultimately be contaminated with the presence of human proteins, body fluids, bacteria and most likely the presence of mould and dust mites.
The average hotel bed will be home to more than 1370 people over a five-year period. We shed up to 3.6 kilograms of skin each year and an average bed can contain anywhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 dust mites.
The Ohio State University entomology department says the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be comprised of up to 10 per cent dust mites and their excrement. In addition, carpets and beds which are not regularly or correctly sanitized have been found to contain high concentrations of mold spores and bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli).
To add to the equation, when examined with black light most hotel room bed heads or head walls have been found to show evidence of human proteins.
While it’s the ‘germ statistics’ that form the common rhetoric and always have, guests and hoteliers alike deserve to know the difference between the ‘gross factor’ and the elements which are more likely to cause potentially serious health concerns. It’s unrealistic for any guest room not to show evidence of human habitation, however the presence of VOC’s such as certain mold spores and chemical compounds within the air and furnishings should be taken far more seriously due to the demonstrated health implications they can represent from both short and long term exposure.
While the desk and television remote are commonly known to contain higher bacteria counts, the items which are most likely to harbor more harmful VOC’s, particularly where they can be inhaled, are the mattress and pillows. The warm, dark and moist climate is ideal for not only allergens such as dust mites, but also mold. Mold along with mold spores, is more prolific than what is commonly understood. It is almost always present and by comparison is rarely visible.
Certain species of mold represent arguably the greatest and most common threat to respiratory health in any guest room. Although the number is improving, comparatively few accommodation operators sanitize their beds and carpets correctly if at all, making these areas a haven for basic allergens and bacteria, through to potentially dangerous VOC’s.
For the most part, the environment is the responsibility of the operator to manage on behalf of the guest. Creating a healthy environment doesn't need to involve expensive measures, simply educated maintenance practices.
If you’re a guest, there are several things you can do to have confidence before your stay:
• Ask about sanitizing practice before booking. Are the beds, pillows and carpets sanitized and if so, is it with a low moisture process or with steam which is counter-productive?
• Ask if housekeeping typically use bleach-based products or are there other safer alternatives in place such as vinegar or cloth cleaning?
• Ask if the property has their air quality measured regularly.
• Take your own pillow, have it either professionally sanitised or at the very least, vacuum it and leave it in direct sunlight for an hour.
• Ask if there’s an independent health certification in place.
During your stay:
• Open the windows if possible — fresh air is best.
• Wash hands regularly and avoid touching the nose, eyes or mouth unnecessarily.
• Wipe down items and switches with a disinfecting wipe.
• Take your own drinking water or boil the water and let it stand for a while.
• Turn off and unplug unnecessary devices, particularly before bed.
• Stay hydrated and be mindful to consume foods (preferably raw) with antioxidants such as most berries, prunes, apples and green tea.
• Avoid bright lights and device screens an hour before bed
Other hotel health woes:
Legionnaires Disease is an increasing threat in all indoor environments, it’s common in water and thrives in warm temperatures. Contrary to popular belief, the most common form of infection is through inhalation, which can occur when infected water from the hot water system is aerosolised such as when a shower head creates a finer spray of water. Typical symptoms are comparable to a severe ‘flu’ including fever, acute headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains and sometimes a dry cough.
Noroviruses cause intestinal infections which in turn lead to common symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, muscle aches and diarrhea. Noroviruses can be transmitted through infected surfaces, airborne particles, infected food or drink and direct contact with infected persons. Unfortunately, noroviruses as well as many common bacteria such as e-coli are resistant to hand sanitizes of ALL varieties. Washing the hands frequently with running water and soap where possible is still the next best prevention for infection from noroviruses as well as other pathogens.
Bed bugs are among the greatest of the traveler ‘paranoia’s’ however they aren't typically a result of poor guest room hygiene. Often confused with dust mites which are not visible to the naked eye, bed bugs are typically 4-5mm in length and are a hitchhiking insect which commonly travels within suitcases.
They hibernate during the day and at night track the carbon monoxide in human breath to locate a source of food. Once on the body, they draw blood from the skin much like a mosquito, before returning to their dwelling place which could be anywhere from a power point to a picture frame. Human reactions vary from nil response to the emergence of large red itchy welts.
Look on the mattress seams for signs of mudding or dark black spots.
Mold particle and spore inhalation
Healthy Hotels Program Toxicologist Dr Peter Dingle refers to mold as the asbestos of the new generation. Molds vary in how they affect human health and implications typically result from exposure to higher volumes of mold spores and particles. However some species produce mycotoxins which are highly potent.
The lighter effects of mold exposure include nasal congestion, coughing, itching, wheezing, aggravation of skin and respiratory allergies, fever and headache. Moderate effects include lowered blood pressure, rapid and strained breathing, dizziness, abdominal pains, increased heart rate, asthma and chronic bronchitis. Severe effects which vary based on exposure time and species can include potentially fatal anaphylactic shock, liver cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.
General exposure will often lead to a greater susceptibility to colds and lower respiratory tract infections. The effects of mold and dampness on the health of children have been found to be comparable to those of passive smoking.
Want to stay healthy on your next trip?
Are you travelling for leisure or business in the near future? Healthy Hotels Certification can make sure your stay is healthy. Mention the property name and location you are staying at and the Healthy Hotels Program will contact them on your behalf to make sure you are covered — click here. Have you got a favorite hotel or accommodation that you would love to nominate for Healthy Hotels Certification? Tell us the about it here.
When I read this title - I too thought a Wonder Woman Super Star Housekeeper at the hotel saved the hotel from a horrendous disaster. Then I read the posting on TripAdvisor from a not so happy guest.
My first thoughts were probably yours and then as you read the article below you'll come to find out the importance of keeping good lost and found records and letting your staff know how important it is to turn in any item found in a room.
This housekeeper is a wonder woman, she did her job and prevented the hotel from losing a guest, that was already out the door. My first job as an Executive Housekeeper was a the Holiday Inn Express in Duluth GA. Jacobey Simmons, my boss placed me there since the last housekeeping manager left. About a week in a guest called and said the gentleman on the phone said that he and his wife were traveling through Atlanta and had just checked out this morning. He said he forgot to grab the babies bottle, so he was returning to the hotel to pick it up since it was their only one and of course it was their baby girls favorite. I told him I would look for it while he was on his way back. I ran down and asked the housekeeper "MI" - Did you see a bottle, she said yes, it had old milk in it and she threw it away. Oh No!
I called the guest back since our Houseman that day had already grabbed her trash and threw it in the dumpster. The guest said Oh No as well, he then explained it he forgot to pack the other bottles that his wife told him to, and he desperately needed the bottle, so I climbed in the dumpster and starting going through the trash and to my surprise I found it, just as he pulled up.
He thanked me and went on his way, and maybe I saved his marriage - who knows, but you just don't know how important something may be to someone. This was many years ago, and today in a world of hand sanitizers I think they wouldn't have returned. So train your staff to turn items in and the same day, if the housekeeper in the article below would have waited a day or two to turn the phone charger in the review would have been different.
“Room attendant saves hotel”
Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Let me start by saying that being a local, I have been to quite a few hotels in Jamaica. I had the most unpleasant experience of staying at Riu Negril a few months ago and was totally against going to any other Riu property ever again, but, I had already made a commitment to attend a conference at Riu Ocho Rios so had no choice but to go. (Feel free to read my review on the Negril property as well)
After the experience in a 'standard' room at Riu Negril, I made sure to change my booking to a room on the 'Palace' side of the property. This may have been the saving grace. Check in was a bit slow, staff not a 'wow' factor but they did their job. The grounds were well kept, and general environs clean. Room was comfortable (but the bathtub was the same small tub as the regular category room). Restaurants were ok. There were times when items would run out, and variety was nothing to write home about, but was generally good. The Japanese restaurant was very good.
Conference room was nice, but I was most appalled to see that the exhibitor section was on the outside so vendors exhibiting were openly exposed to the elements. Exhibitors had to endure sun, and rain alike. So anyone thinking of using this area for any similar type of function....DON'T!
After checking out, while on route home I realized that one of my cell phones was left in the room. Thanks to our room attendant's honesty (Suzanne, I think), it was safely returned to me that very evening. For this reason, I have a formed a new opinion of Riu Resorts, and would not hesitate to visit the Ocho Rios property again. Suzanne saved the day! Many thanks to you and keep up the good work.
As a Housekeeping Manager, we've all experienced the ups and downs of the business. We learn from those before us, or stumble across something that works. Use this page to pass on information, rant, rave, or leave your story behind so that others can learn from your experience.