Housekeeping responsibility or nurses?


I was working the graveyard last night and i got called to come terminal clean a room in the E.R. Non-stat, so I cruise down clean the room (lots of hair on the ground) and as I'm walking out tossing some trash the nurse sees me and says "make sure you wear booties and a cap that patient had lice."

Another time I was working the morning shift down in the snf attached to our hospital. A patient passed and the nurse wanted the room cleaned stat. So I go over to the room, it's a mess the bed not even stripped (big no-no for us housekeepers), so i clean the room the best I could fast without compromising proper sanitation. I finish in about 20 minutes and I'm walking back to grab some trash bags, the lvn sees me and ask me if I finished the room yet. I respond with a thumbs up, she then says "oh did you gown up? that patient has scabies."

Both times had no contact precaution sign on the door.

I have about 5 more months of housekeeping left until I become a C.N.A. I would like to be able live and be healthy for that time. My question is whose responsibility is it? I say the nurses because I'm not there, I have no idea which nurse has which room, there is no possible way for me to figure out what a patient has and if it something I should be concerned about.

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

always treat each patient as if they were hiv, hep b, positive. that way you are always protected. same goes for lice or scabies. take the precautions always. good luck on your cna !

praiser :heartbeat


138 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 4 years experience.

Where I work, we have to leave the contact precaution signs up until after the room is clean. That is not right for you to have no way of knowing about precautions the patient had. Perhaps you could gown up for every room that you're unsure of just to be safe?

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

not every disease or condition requires isolation precautions. So your best bet is to enter every room with Universal Precautions in mind.

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,994 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

There should be a way to communicate to you these kinds of things. We are supposed to leave the signs on.

Perhaps, you should tell your supervisor so they can remind employees to do this.

Good luck to you!


119 Posts

Specializes in Mursing. Has 3 years experience.

Let the manager or supervisor know. You need to be protected!:coollook:

jmgrn65, RN

1,344 Posts

Specializes in cardiac/critical care/ informatics. Has 16 years experience.

We are supposed to leave the signs up, but it sounds like they didn't even have signs up. I agree with the op's talk to your supervisor. Your safety is important.


630 Posts

I agree, signs should have been posted, you should have been told....however as a nurse I ALWAYS assume the patient has a communicable disease or problem. Not always to gown up, but careful what and where I touch using gloves as a precaution. The first step in protection is you. This is good to follow as a CNA also.


13 Posts

Actually i guess some rules got switched around, now we have to strip the bed in exchange the nurses has to put the gown and towels in the bathroom... (who the heck agreed to that :() Now it’s even more essential that we consult a nurse, tech, cna or someone before we go chargin in cleaning rags a blazing!

pagandeva2000, LPN

7,984 Posts

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

It may be difficult to treat each room as if it was contaminated when lice or scabies is involved. From what I remember, the room is supposed to be quarentined (at least for scabies) and the room may require a different than average cleanser. I believe you should report it to your supervisor and the infection control or inservice nurse in your facility. You have just as much right to be safe as the medical staff.


23 Posts

Specializes in Inpatient Rehabilitation.

In the hospital I work in we have the isolation precautions (etc.) posted on the frames of the patients room with magnets and it is the responsibility of our cleaning personel to take then down after the room has been cleaned. That way everyone is aware of what the precautions are up until the room has been disinfected properly.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, IM, OB/GYN, neuro, GI.

Like the pp said there should be a sign on the door. I had something similar happen to me when I was a sitter. A lot of the nurses wouldn't put signs on the doors as soon as they found out a patient had something. After the second time of me walking in to a menigitis rule out without anything on I stopped walking in the rooms until I found the nurse for that patient. I've seen a lot of the housekeepers at facilities do this too. Before they step into the room they'll ask if they were on precautions because some things they do not keep stocked on the carts (curtains come to mind). They do this so they can get everything they need then get gowned up and clean the room. Saves them time of having to go back and forth or to different floors to get everything they need.

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