Environmental Services Cleans Up in COVID-19 Battle

By Rosemary Belleman

EVS staff are responsible for the gleaming hallways and impeccable neatness that help patients and families feel safer.

Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Services Team (EVS) has been instrumental in keeping patients, families, visitors and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. By making sure our facilities are clean and germ-free, they contribute to a positive patient and staff experience while reducing the spread of infectious disease throughout all the Cincinnati Children’s campuses. EVS recognized and reacted quickly to the effect COVID-19 could have on the medical center and implemented new strategies to boost efficiency and cleanliness. They increased the number of people on their staff who were certified to do N-95 fit-testing by 50 percent to ensure a shift trainer was always available. They also implemented guidelines so that the once-crowded clock-in and break areas are now properly spaced and rearranged to support social distancing.

The staggered clock-in times, supply stations, floor spacers, and visual training guides have been so successful that EVS plans to incorporate them into their normal daily

routines. They have found that having their patient experience team conduct new admission “visits” and follow-ups to patient/family concerns via telephone has worked well. They also plan to continue to keep the EVS team’s common areas properly socially distant. The EVS team acknowledges it would not be as capable without the support of the nursing staff. “It has been truly incredible to watch the great collaboration and teamwork between EVS and Nursing,” said Mickey Curd, director, Environmental Services. The nursing staff is always willing to lend a helping hand to the EVS staff, and the same goes for EVS. These teams work hand-in-hand, allowing for better patient experiences and productivity.

“We are constantly supporting each other, and EVS is so thankful for the nursing staff’s efforts,” said Curd.

EVS technician Dorothy Merchant stood in the hallway, silently observing the COVID-19 training for nursing staff. Julie North, RN, clinical manager, Specialty Resource Unit, took notice of her curiosity and realized the hands-on training equally applied to the EVS team. North then extended this training to all EVS staff members. The training bridged understanding between the teams, all looking out for mutual safety and support. It supplemented quick efforts early on to prevent the spread of germs and allowed nursing and EVS to help each other in a more direct and cohesive way.

Thanks to COVID-19, the EVS team has learned that the things we do daily, such as

proper hand hygiene, are more significant now than ever. They’ve put a greater focus on sanitizing high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs and elevator buttons, and detailed cleaning throughout patient and public areas in the hospital. EVS touches and affects every area of the medical center. They are an essential part of every department and are truly unsung heroes as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic. They are at the frontline, ensuring that every area is clean and disinfected for every person that steps into our hospital. Their efforts go a long way in providing a safe environment for our patients and staff. 

(Photos) Dorothy Merchant puts a new liner in a waste can.

Amy Datt is diligent about wearing proper PPE during her shift.

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