Too often operational hotel housekeeping personnel are not appreciated. Many people underestimate what efforts are required for good housekeeping in a hotel, leading to poor orientation of the personnel hired to work in the department. Encountering the unexpected (if it is negative) can be traumatic and this is just one of many reasons I ‘stand up’ or give a ‘thumps up’ for good hotel housekeeping. Ayee-koo!
When I was a student, majoring in hotel administration, I always went for hotel housekeeping jobs during the summer holidays because it was the easiest of the hotel jobs to find then. Fellow housekeepers shared bizarre stories of what they found in guestrooms. Their stories are no different from the encounters of housekeepers behind hotel guestrooms in Ghana. While we cannot predict everything, how are housekeepers prepared for the following encounters?
A Sick guest: Guests can get sick at any time. Some may be knowledgeable about what to do and give the housekeeper specific instructions such as providing contacts of a doctor, a relation or a drug to buy. On the other hand, many other guests may not be that knowledgeable. How well informed are hotel housekeepers on what to do when they come across such sick guests? What safety procedures are expected of them to follow when cleaning up vomits or the running stool of guests suffering from serious diarrhea? What do our housekeepers know about blood borne pathogen safety procedures?
Dead guest: Deaths in hotels are not quite as rare as guests may think. It may be a suicide or of natural cause. In either case, discretion and tact are required. Unfortunately, many are ignorant of the first responsibility to check the body to determine that the guest is actually dead and not merely asleep, suffering a stroke or heart attack, or has lapsed into a state of unconsciousness. Reading the report of incidents (usually badly done) by hotel security, one wonders what to expect from hotel housekeepers who are hardly trained to do so, much more when they are traumatized. Would they be in a position to explain how and when they found the body? How sharp are their observation skills? Would they be able to describe in a coherent manner what steps they would undertake to ascertain the guest is no longer alive? Take note of peculiar observations or even remember what items in the guestroom or general area they touched?
Be thankful for good hotel housekeeping. Ayee-koo!