The week of Sept. 12-18 is Environmental Services (EVS) Week and provides a moment for us to focus on the incredible role this team plays in health care.

At Rutland Regional Medical Center, the EVS team, which includes the housekeeping and linen departments, is an integral piece of the puzzle that keeps the hospital operating safely for our community. As a critical member of the health care team, EVS serves as the front line of infection control. The EVS staff take pride in their jobs as each understands the importance of providing a clean and safe physical environment for patients, providers and the community. As professionals, the EVS team readily adapts to situations through technology, education and experience.

EVS uses state-of-the-art electrostatic technology to disinfect all spaces and surfaces. This technology uses negative and positive charges and seeks out surfaces to wrap around and disinfect. This process guarantees surfaces are disinfected without having to move furniture and disinfects all areas, including the underside of furniture, ceilings and walls.

Electrostatic technology has many benefits beyond superb disinfection. The technology saves time: a room that would take 45 minutes to disinfect by hand can now be ready within 15 minutes. This allows for the medical team to place patients in rooms faster so they can continue their care and recovery.

When the pandemic began, the EVS team purchased six more electrostatic machines to help expedite the disinfecting process and thoroughly clean each room. From a safety perspective, the technology was key in that the system could be placed in the room once a patient left, thereby disinfecting it and everything in it completely. Then, an EVS team member could safely enter the space to clean and prepare the room for the next patient.

The hospital is proud of the entire EVS team and how they faced the challenges of the pandemic. The EVS team is made up of 50 people who have received COVID and other infection prevention training. EVS takes significant pride in the multiple professional certification avenues offered to all department members, front line staff and leaders alike. Many staff earned Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technicians (CHEST) certification and the department Training and Development coordinator has earned her Certificate of Mastery in Infection Prevention (CMIP) all through the Association for the Healthcare Environment, a subset of the American Hospital Association. The Linen Dept. staff have earned Certified Linen Technician (CLT) training through the Association of Linen Management. Department administrators have earned CHESP or CLLM managerial certifications that cover multiple aspects of running an effective EVS department. All certified personnel have attended required class instruction, passed the certification exams, and maintained continuing education credits to achieve and maintain this professional level in the industry.

We typically don’t want to think about bacteria and germs, but this is exactly the daily focus of the EVS team, 24/7, 365 days a year. If you know of someone who works in Environmental Services, please join us in thanking them for their expertise and dedication to keeping all of us safe.

This week’s Health Talk was submitted by Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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