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The core mission of nearly every healthcare facility tends to be similar: Provide the best patient care experience possible at the best cost. Delivering the best patient care also includes implementing a strong patient safety component; but the way Hospital A achieves this goal compared to Hospital B may not be so similar.
Most patient safety initiatives include a solid infection prevention (IP) connection. This requires thesteady engagement of and cooperation from several departments, including Environmental Services (EVS), which is indispensable to the effort because of the important role it plays in virtually every area it touches. Whether it be inside the patient room, the surgical suite, the emergency department, intensive care unit, or any other place under a hospital’s roof, EVS professionals have the critical job of making the entire healthcare space as clean and pathogen-free as possible.
Although some facilities may miss the mark in making this connection strong and clear within its workplace culture, many more have hit the bullseye by giving their EVS department the support, education and tools it needs to complete its work, along with some much-deserved recognition for jobs well done.
“Our communal culture here at Memorial encourages all of us to watch out for each other, and I know they feel I do the same for them,” said EVS Technician at Memorial Medical Center, Minnie Watson. “I work very closely with our infection prevention department. In fact, our departments work so closely together, they almost combined the two a few years back! The IP department holds monthly meetings where they share helpful updates and answer any questions.
“Overall, the team’s transparency and 24/7 availability make it easy to obtain feedback so our EVS staff stay well-informed. This job is all about the patients and preventing HAIs. I speak for the entire EVS department when I say that Memorial is not a place to simply grab a check. This is a place to help people.”
In addition, Watson, one of the two first-ever CloroxPro Champions of Clean contest winners, says her EVS department at the Springfield IL organization provides ongoing training sessions, weekly policy procedure updates, and protocol quizzes. “Our leadership team is extremely approachable as well — I can always go to my supervisor with questions and our department director stays involved in day-to-day activities,” she said.
Does this mean problems don’t occur? Hardly. But when they do, department leaders at Memorial join forces and find ways to fix problems together, says Watson. “Room turnover used to be an issue, but we worked with the nursing staff and our placement office to ensure we remain focused on priority rooms,” she said. “We are a very busy hospital so it’s crucial we turn over rooms in an efficient and thorough way.
In order to do this, our EVS department uses TeleTracking to keep track of hospital beds, incorporating the use of effective cleaning products, and establishing consistent cleaning protocols. We now average around 30 minutes per room, cutting our turnover time in half compared to eight years ago.”