Environmental Services

Latoshia Ford Earns National Recognition for Her Work

Latoshia Ford has meticulously cared for our Same Day Surgery environment for four of her 10 years at Cincinnati Children’s. Wiping down surfaces to prevent the spread of germs, she understands that what our families see sends a first impression and puts them at ease when their child must undergo a procedure. Her crucial role to keep everyone safe, along with her 540 colleagues on the Environmental Services (EVS) team, took center stage during the pandemic. Working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the team has continued to provide the cleanest environment possible for our patients, families and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. EVS took advantage of the low census at the onset of COVID-19 to detail and deep-clean areas on the Burnet, College Hill and Liberty campuses. Results from our real-time patient surveys show that patients and families have taken notice of the team’s preparedness and dedication, with scores well above the industry average. “Our EVS team is extremely important. Every single person who walks through our doors is impacted by the work they do. They are an essential part of Cincinnati Children’s who keep all patients and staff safe,” said Jim Burger, vice president, Facilities. Ford is among the many standouts on the team. Known for her consistent hard work, reliability and attention to detail, Ford’s kindness and courage shine through in everything she does—so much that she was recently recognized on the national level.

Cintas awarded Ford the 2020 C.A.P.E. Award (Cintas Cleaning to Advance the Patient Experience). The national award recognizes EVS technicians in acute-care facilities who are at the frontline of patient care, providing clean and safe facilities for healthcare workers, patients and visitors across the country. Ford received 19 nominations for her exceptional care of our environment.

Receiving the award in September brought her to tears.

Ford was called to the HR office only to be surprised by her team and presented with the C.A.P.E. award. Overwhelmed with happiness, she said the appreciation shown by her Same Day Surgery team motivates her to go the extra mile in her work.

“As an EVS member, we don’t get acknowledged as much as the medical staff. The Same Day Surgery team makes me feel like the work I am doing is just as important as theirs.” Ford’s recognition reminds us of the importance of teamwork during these hard times and that a smile and kindness can go a long way.

EVS Accomplishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic

EVS have been working tirelessly and in partnership with others to ensure that our care can be delivered in the safest and most efficient way throughout the pandemic. Here are some highlights of what they have done so far:

  • Increased the number of EVS members who were certified to do N-95 fit-testing by approximately 30 percent to proactively prepare for the pandemic.
  • Received hands-on COVID-19 training led by Julie North, RN, clinical manager, Specialty Resource Unit.
  • Provided operational support to the COVID-19 testing tent with regular trash pickups at the Liberty Campus
  • Worked with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) committee to develop contingency plans for PPE items and disinfecting agents.
  • Reassured EVS staff of their safety and proper PPE protection by having EVS operations managers clean rooms with COVID-19 positive patients.
  • Offered flexible scheduling to EVS staff who needed to take care of children due to childcare closures and public transportation challenges. Additionally, EVS leadership secured a 15-passenger van as a backup method of transportation for staff.
  • Switched to an alternative application of bleach products for disinfection to minimize the impact to clinical operations and to conserve bleach wipe products by working with Infection Control and Purchasing.
  • Improved cleanliness of “first impression areas” in collaboration with screening station personnel.
  • Created a process for collecting, packaging and shipping used N-95 masks for disinfection and shipment back to the medical center with Infection Control, Occupational Safety and Employee Health, and Materials Management.
  • Supported Lori Tonnis and the Child Life team with the implementation of the “Kid Zone” at the Burnet and Liberty campuses. “Kid Zone” was created to provide a safe environment for families who need to bring healthy children when visiting the ED for a sick child.

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