Numerous studies have demonstrated that contaminated environmental surfaces in healthcare facilities can contribute to the transmission of infectious pathogens and that the cleaning and disinfection of these high-touch surfaces has been suboptimal.
One good housekeeper can prevent more diseases than a dozen doctors can cure. Some patients are so ill that a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) can take a patients life, even if there were a room full of doctors to provide treatment. Just as medical personnel care for patients, environmental services (ES) professionals work to keep hospitals healthy. This article is a nuts-and-bolts piece meant to improve the health of healthcare facilities. There are a few basic things we need to do to make ES departments effective -- proper hiring and training of staff, adequate design of ES work areas, accurate appraisal of task loads, and concise time management of the frontline staff.
As a seasoned veteran of the professional cleaning industry, Linda Bowman brought years of experience to her job as group leader in environmental services when she came to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in 2002. But her prior work was for shopping malls and office buildings. When she began her job at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, it was the first time she worked in health care environmental services. She found the change significant.