Healthcare facilities all around the world are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Environmental services (EVS) teams are an important part of that effort as they keep these facilities clean and regularly disinfect critical high-touch areas. Make sure your EVS team is aware of the action steps they need to take to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep patients, hospital staff, and themselves safe.
Infection Prevention Best Practices
It’s extremely important to make sure every EVS team member is aware of and implementing infection prevention best practices. These include:
• Using proper hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Ensuring there are adequate inventory levels of hand sanitizer and soap
• Using proper disinfectants
• Frequently changing cleaning cloths to prevent cross-contamination
• Mopping with a disinfectant
Remind team members of these best practices throughout the day. By following proper infection prevention methods, EVS teams can play a major role in the effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Focus on High-Touch Areas
High-touch areas should have extra resources allocated to them. Focusing on these areas is critically important to keeping patients and everyone at your facility safe. EVS teams should be devoting extra time and energy to cleaning areas such as emergency rooms, lobbies, waiting areas, elevators, and public restrooms. Increase the cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch items within these areas, including countertops, door handles, tables, and light switches. Pinpoint these items with EVS team members as leaders make their rounds and conduct inspections.
Ensure Appropriate Staffing
EVS teams need proper staffing to effectively maintain cleanliness of the hospital and keep up with the extra cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas. If needed, take the extra step of reallocating team members to assist with disinfection practices. Floor techs, maintenance team members, groundskeepers, and supervisors can put work on hold in order to support the disinfecting of the facility.
Performing inspections ensures EVS teams are performing at a high level and keeping your facility clean and disinfected. Devote time to conducting extra inspections in high-touch areas. Make frequent rounds in the ER and other public areas to monitor compliance with the initiatives and best-practices that your team is implementing.
Continue Educating Your Teams
Use every available resource to educate your team. You can find resources on the CDC’s Communication Resources page to distribute to your team. One-page guides can be handed out during huddles for team members to keep with them for reference. Below are some links to additional resources that can be a help to your team as you work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
CDC Resources: Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings