Aug 31, 2020 / Spotlight

Get to Know our Staff: Environmental Services Department

Our Director of Environmental Services, Stan Whittenberg, answered a few questions to give an inside look at the impact his team has at Scottish Rite for Children. 

Who they are: 
The Environmental Services (EVS) department responsibilities are broad and constantly changing and increasing. In addition to improving patient safety, service and efficiency, EVS professionals help contribute to improved patient satisfaction ratings and help lead sustainable programs. Specifically, Environmental Services is responsible for maintaining an aesthetically pleasing environment for the entire facility on a daily basis. EVS is also responsible for set up and removal of seating, tables, etc. for special functions. We coordinate all internal space relocations and manage the off-site storage of facility equipment and non-monetary donations.
What they are known for:
Our team is known for being a group of friendly, quick responders who all take a great deal of pride in what they do. 
Significant achievement:
One achievement that the Environmental Services department is particularly proud of is that since October 2018, we have consistently scored above 98% with patient satisfaction on facility cleanliness. 
How they make a difference:
Health care environmental services professionals care for a highly complex, regulated environment, where sick people want and need a care environment conducive to recovery and wellness. That very environment plays a key role in customer/patient satisfaction and quality outcomes throughout a patient’s continuum of care. Simply put, EVS in health care contributes to saving lives every day. This is a critical distinction because the knowledge needed to provide a safe and clean clinical environment extends from the inpatient unit to the surgical suite and everything in between. Possessing the knowledge and understanding of how and why the environment plays a role in disease transmission can and will impact the overall patient experience.
Department goals:
In order to meet the ever-growing challenges of our environment, the EVS department is always looking for ways to improve staff training and clinical collaboration, control costs, establish and standardize best practices and share knowledge throughout the continuum of care.
Unknown department fact:
The knowledge of health care environmental services professionals is rooted in the fundamentals of infection prevention, microbiology and evidence-based practice, related to cleaning and disinfection. And, there are key differences between the health care and non-health care roles that are associated with managing multiple waste streams, floor care, linen handling and distribution. The environmental services profession offers certification as a Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician (CHEST), Certified Surgical Cleaning Technician (CSCT), Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Profession (CHESP) and Certified Master of Infection Prevention (CMIP). We’re proud to have several team members who have successfully earned these distinctions.

How your department has responded to COVID-19:
The team has displayed a strong commitment to the health and safety of our patients, visitors and other team members. With around-the-clock work, the EVS team has been critical to preventing infection and keeping the organization running cleanly and efficiently.

Early into the pandemic, the EVS team partnered with the Performance Improvement department and Scottish Rite leadership to establish frequent communication to discuss  an action plan, concerns and needs regarding infection prevention.

Throughout the pandemic the EVS has increased the frequency of routine cleanings of high-touched surfaces, such as door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, arm rests, doorknobs and push plates – and in public or high traffic areas of the campuses including waiting rooms, lobbies, lounges and dining areas.

As the pandemic began to intensify, the EVS team collaborated with our Supply Chain department to keep a watchful eye on the supply of health care disinfectant and was able to establish a distribution process which has allowed us to be better positioned to continue to provide the essential chemicals needed to keep our facility safe.

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