Key messages

  • Cleaning audits are weighted and scored according to the importance of functional areas.
  • Weighting and scoring reviews frequency and intensity of cleaning in different functional areas of a healthcare facility.
  • Weighting reflects the urgency for addressing any identified problems.

Weighting refers to an auditing and scoring process that reflects the importance of various elements within different functional areas. 

Functional areas are categorised and weighted according to risk when audited.

Weighting also addresses the urgency for rectifying identified problems within each functional area risk category. 

Weighting is expressed numerically for the purposes of scoring cleaning standards audits. 

Both the timeframe for addressing problems and the numerical expressions are linked to the concept of risk, and required levels of cleaning frequency and intensity.

Risk categories

The following table demonstrates the relationship between numerical weighting of functional areas, the level of cleaning frequency and intensity required, and the timeframe for rectifying and re-auditing any identified problems.

Numerical weighting

Functional area risk category weighting

Required level of cleaning frequency and intensity 

Timeframe for rectifying identified problems and re-auditing 

7

Very high risk category A

Critically important: constant

Immediate

6

High risk category B

Highly important: frequent

0-48 hours

4

Moderate risk category C

Very important: regular scheduled basis and as required in between

2-7 days

2

Low risk category D

Important: infrequent on a scheduled or project basis

1-4 weeks

An audit score sheet is provided in the cleaning standards. A separate audit sheet should be used for each functional area, such as:

  • a general ward area comprising a number of rooms (including toilets, bathrooms and showers, sterile and non-sterile stock storage areas, utility rooms, day room, pantry and nurses’ station)
  • an operating theatre complex or department comprising recovery, operating theatres, sterile storage area, scrub rooms, anaesthetic areas, toilets and other related rooms
  • an outpatients’ area comprising a number of treatment rooms, offices and utility rooms
  • a department comprising a number of treatment rooms, rehabilitation area and offices.

Sampling should ensure all room types are audited and that, in total, approximately 20 per cent of the functional area (by square metre area) is audited.

The 20 per cent sampling within clinical functional areas should be biased towards clinical and patient areas, and not towards offices and non-clinical rooms.

Scoring

A demerit-based system is used for scoring. 

A functional area starts with 100 points and points are deducted when an element does not meet the required standard. 

The weighting given to each element within different functional area risk categories distinguishes the relative importance and risk.

The process of scoring is the same for external and non-external audits.

Scoring a functional area

The functional area under audit, the date and the name of the auditor are recorded on the audit score sheet. Each element within a functional area is assessed and scored. If an element scores zero (0) it is acceptable and no points are deducted from 100. If an element scores one point (1) it is unacceptable.

Weightings are then applied to the elements that scored one point. The cross-reference charts contained in the cleaning standards are used to determine the actual demerit points for each unacceptable element. All the demerit points are added up and the total is subtracted from 100.

Scoring a functional area risk category

Once all functional areas have been scored, an average score for each functional area risk category should be obtained for both external and non-external audits of a health facility.

To obtain an average score for each risk category the auditor should add up the scores for all functional areas in a risk category, then divide the total by the number of functional areas that were audited.

Contact details