Housekeeping management in hospitals
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Housekeeping Management in Hospitals . G. Krishna Veni. Overview on Housekeeping Department . Historical Perspective Under direction of ward nurse The concept of Housekeeping was not clear Modern Perspective Psychological Impact of patients

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Housekeeping Management in Hospitals

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Housekeeping Management in Hospitals

G. Krishna Veni

Overview on Housekeeping Department

Historical Perspective

  • Under direction of ward nurse

  • The concept of Housekeeping was not clear

    Modern Perspective

  • Psychological Impact of patients

  • Improved hygienic practices and better sanitary conditions have a direct relationship to the post operative complications.

  • Under direction of Housekeeping department

  • Members of HK department are experts in cleaning and organizing in house activities

The housekeeping departments work has advanced rapidly in recent years and requires not only knowledge of technical skills but also an understanding of the ‘Tools’ of management

Principles of management

Plan, organize, coordinate, control and monitor all the housekeeping activities in hand for effective utilization of resources

Housekeeping - Definition

Housekeeping is defined as the provision of a clean, comfortable and safe environment for the patients and public in a hospital setup

The concept of housekeeping is simplistic


When one considers maintaining a ‘house’ of several hundreds of rooms and numerous public areas, the task becomes gigantic.

Aims of housekeeping department

  • Achieve the maximum efficiency possible in the care and comfort of the patients and in the smooth running of the hospital.

  • Establish a welcoming atmosphere and a courteous, reliable service from staff of all departments.

  • Ensure a high standard of cleanliness and general upkeep in all areas.

  • Train, control and supervise the staff of housekeeping department.

  • Establish a good working relationship with other department.

  • Ensure that safety and security regulations are made known to all staff of the hospital.

Responsibilities of Housekeeping Department

  • Daily cleaning

  • Periodic cleaning

  • Trash and garbage removal including proper hospital waste disposal

  • Discharge cleaning

  • Exterminating bugs and pests

  • Preventing spread of infection

  • Safety and security of the hospital

  • Creating healing environment

  • Gardening

  • Interior decoration

Organization Chart








Organizing Housekeeping Department

  • Location

  • Facility & space requirement

    • Storage areas (e.g. under staircase)

    • Cupboards with locks

    • Notice boards

  • Management information system

    • Registers (attendance, asset,...)

    • Forms (Indent, requisitions,…)

    • Asset list (equipment, materials..)

    • Checklist (Quality, Maintenance..)

Recruitment and staffing

  • Tapping the right source

  • Interview process

  • Selection process

  • Grooming

  • Personal Hygiene

  • Honesty

  • Courtesy tact & diplomacy


  • The organization and brief outline of the hospital

  • Information regarding condition of service, pay, etc.

  • Information regarding grooming, hygiene, courtesy, safety, security, etc.

  • Rules like dress code, hours of work, leave policies and procedure, lunch hours, etc.

  • Hospital tour

  • Observing Equipments and supplies used in the housekeeping department

  • Observing cleaning procedures done


  • Methods of supervision

  • Housekeeping procedures like sweeping, mopping, dusting work

  • Equipments and supplies, when to use and how to use, amount to use and care of the equipment. (Attach equip.. usage)

  • Refresher training

    • During lean periods

    • Newer techniques/methods

    • Practical training under supervision for quality improvement

Qualities of the housekeeper

  • Basic knowledge of health care sanitation

  • Ability to plan, administer, and develop all phases of a comprehensive housekeeping program

  • Ability to assign, supervises, and evaluates the work of subordinates

  • A pleasant personality

  • An interest in people and tact in handling them

Inter departmental relationship

  • Maintenance department (electricity, plumbing, carpentry, civil)

  • Stores

  • Laundry

  • Security

  • Nursing

  • Other departments

Management Issues

Effective communication

Absent of responsible person

Work Allocation

Conflicts Management

Time Management

Housekeeping practices in key working areas in hospitals

  • Out Patient Department and Clinical area

  • Operation Theater

  • Ward

  • Laboratory

  • Office area

  • Sanitary area

  • Outside area

Common Housekeeping practices in key working areas

  • Systematic cleaning operations – Year calendar

  • Basic work procedures

  • Control of odors, pests, rodent & animal control

  • Waste disposal – methods and procedures

  • Safety regulation – Accident, fire, electrical

  • Care of furniture

  • Interior decoration

  • Storage procedure for used equipments

Managing Sanitary Workers

  • Workers under housekeepers

  • work distribution for male and female workers

  • Recruitment and selection procedure

    • Nearby areas

    • Different areas & families

    • Physical appearance

    • Age mix

  • Effective supervision

  • Handling the difficult worker

  • Effective communication

  • Performance evaluation

Retaining Sanitary Workers

  • Nutritious snacks

  • Providing free lunch

  • Free uniform

  • Free medical facilities

  • Recreation (tours, movies etc.)

  • Sick leave

  • Change their shifts if they have any acceptable reason

  • Help them if they require money for Emergency

  • Help them to educate their children

  • Bonus for 100% attendance

Challenges …..

  • Routines need to be planned so that they do not inconvenience doctors, nurses, visitors

  • Cleaning has to be consistent, suitable in conjecture with nursing procedures, e.g. bed making before vacuum cleaning

  • A greater need for flexibility and the ability to adjust to interruptions

  • Methods & equipment require special attention so as to prevent cross - infection

  • The noise is of more importance than elsewhere.

  • Greater variation in different work methods and standards in different areas, example - operating theatres, wards and visitor’s lounge

    ( standards of cleanliness)

  • The need for check cleaning, that is the frequent re-doing of cleaning tasks, in heavy use areas e.g. Mopping of floors, cleaning of toilets and wash basins. (frequency of cleaning)

Laundry Services

  • It is a centralized function coming under the housekeeping department taking care of all activities from purchase to linen management to laundry to condemnation

  • Linen Management will vary based on the climate, culture, systems and procedure of the individual organization

Hospital can go for

  • Inside laundry services - with adequate machineries

  • Inside laundry services – Manual wash by dhobi

  • Outside laundry services – On contract basis

Functions of laundry department

  • Collection or receiving soiled and infected linen

  • Processing solid linen through laundry equipment. This includes sorting, sluicing and disinfecting, washing, extracting, drying, conditioning ironing, pressing and folding

  • Inspection and repair of damaged articles, their contamination and replacement

  • Distributing finished linen to the respective user departments

  • Maintenance and control of active and back-up inventions and processed linen

  • Maintaining all type of registers

Organizing laundry department

  • Manpower requirement

  • Duties and responsibilities of linen in - charge housekeepers

  • Recruitment and selection of dhobi

  • Management information system

  • Equipments – selection, care

  • Linen – selection, care, stain removal procedure

  • Work procedure

  • Stain removal procedure

  • Management issues


  • Stock the linen materials in 1:3 ratio

  • Each day the bed sheet is dusted and the side is changed when the bed is made. This way both sides of the sheet is used. On the third day the bed sheet is changed

  • Use all faded and damaged fabrics for dusting and cleaning windows, furniture etc

Other housekeeping knowledge

  • Innovative and decorative tasks like flower arrangements and pot decoration etc.

  • Gardening

  • Arranging dinner, tea for guests

  • Arranging rooms for conferences, meetings

  • Functional arrangements


The housekeeping department is a non-revenue-producing service department in the hospital. A poorly run department results in money needlessly spent and creates a negative impression on patients, visitors and staff, which will adversely affect their perception of the quality of care provided by the hospital.

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