With Del DeSart, Environmental Services (EVS) Manager
More times than anyone wants to admit, those who do a great deal of the infection control in a hospital slip through the cracks of recognition. The caregivers who help keep us safe quietly work in the background, both day and night, to maintain a level of cleanliness that few could replicate in their own homes. In appreciation of their hard work, we talked to our Environmental Services (EVS) Manager, Del DeSart, about the impact of COVID-19 on his staff.
How has COVID-19 changed cleaning procedures?
EVS handles this virus in the same way we handle the flu, with a few exceptions. We are not performing daily cleaning in rooms with patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed. Also, we are having to wait to perform terminal cleanings (to sanitize) in those types of rooms to allow time for the air to be cleared, for precautionary reasons set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have increased our frequency in cleaning of high-touch points throughout the hospital, and we have increased the personal protective equipment (PPE) that EVS team members are wearing to protect our caregivers and limit the spread of the virus.
What do your caregivers do, specifically, to keep themselves safe?
The housekeepers are very careful to follow all isolation guidelines, being sure to wait the proper time after a discharge to begin cleaning and always wearing proper PPE. If we are unsure if the patient had COVID-19, we follow our COVID-19 cleaning procedures to ensure staff safety.
How often are rooms, operating rooms, clinic exam rooms and the lobby cleaned?
All the operating suites and emergency rooms must be terminally cleaned each day, even if they weren’t used. Terminal cleaning methods vary but usually include removing all detachable objects in the room, cleaning lighting and air duct surfaces in the ceiling, and cleaning everything downward to the floor. Items removed from the room are disinfected or sanitized before being returned to the room. All clinic rooms are deep cleaned every evening and are cleaned between patients by the medical assistants in those clinics. Lobbies and handrails are thoroughly cleaned two to three times per shift.
Are your caregivers worried about their own health?
The EVS caregivers do have worries and anxiety about getting sick; however, they are extremely dedicated to the hospital and patient safety, so they push forward with their duties while following all the proper PPE guidelines they have been given.
What would you say about the caregivers in your department at CMH?
They are dedicated to patient safety and continue to go above and beyond to provide a clean and safe environment. I am very proud of their hard work and dedication.
What can a patient do to assist housekeeping while a guest at CMH?
The biggest thing a patient could do is thank the housekeeping staff for the great job they are doing. Quite often, housekeeping staff are the unsung heroes who are quietly working to keep the environment sanitary so the hospital can continue to operate. They are essential and deserve to be appreciated, especially during this pandemic.
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