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Environmental Services makes it a clean sweep

Enviornmental Services

There is a sign right inside the Environmental Services door at Highland Hospital that reads “Our Cleaning Helps Your Healing.” That’s a phrase that every Environmental Services (ES) staff member is dedicated to and it shows in their work every day. In fact, Highland’s ES Department has earned the highest HCAHPS in Rochester for overall hospital cleanliness. That’s an achievement that involves the entire team.

It Starts with Communication

It’s a challenge to make sure that 85 full-time and part-time employees who work all shifts in the hospital are kept up to date with information, innovation and training. ES begins each shift with a daily huddle to make sure staff are fully informed and engaged. “It’s a good team-building exercise and a place where we share information with the staff.” says ES Department Manager Franklin Allen. Housekeeper Teddy Smalls appreciates the huddles. “We find out what is going on and what we can do better.”

Department members work together and help each other. “If someone is finished with their work, they will help someone else with theirs,” says housekeeper Quanita Armbrester. Recently ES made a change that resulted in a better work load balance for staff. Previously, two staff members were assigned to each floor and had responsibilities for either the West or East wings. But a cul de sac area has been carved out in the middle of several floors, and those areas are now being cleaned by another staff member.

This spring the department is launching a new tool called a Communication Log that initially will be placed at each nursing station. The log will enable nursing and environmental services personnel on all shifts to communicate in writing with each other to provide updates, share concerns and give recognition. The log program will be expanded to other departments, as well.

Commitment to Cleanliness

The department is committed to best practices for cleaning. “We research current products and tools and find out what will work best in our hospital,” says Horace Little, who supervises day staff and has responsibilities for ordering supplies and monitoring equipment.

Environmental Service staff members are proud of their part in the healing process.

Working together with other hospitals has also paid off. Highland is part of a four-hospital collaborative with Strong Memorial, Unity and Rochester General to determine the best methods to abate C. diff. The hospitals have introduced a double-clean process that involves staff members doing a discharge clean of each room, waiting a short period (called dwell time) and then wiping everything down again. This has helped minimize incidents of C. diff city-wide.