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Stories of Care Podcast June 21, 2023

Environmental Service Professionals Are an Integral Part of the Healthcare Team

Environmental Services (EVS) professionals ensure healthcare facilities across the country are clean, safe places for patients, their families, and other staff members. Implementing proper infection control protocols, such as cleaning and disinfection, directly impact rates of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and patient outcomes. By recognizing the contributions of EVS professionals, we can elevate the importance of their work on the frontlines.

  1. Respect for EVS Professionals Rose During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    While EVS professionals have historically been an unseen part of the health care team, their role was coming more to the forefront before COVID-19. During the pandemic, their role was thrust into the spotlight as people debated aerosolization and proper cleaning and disinfection. EVS professionals, like all team members, care about patients and their health outcomes and take pride in getting patients discharged safely.

  2. Proper PPE Is Essential for EVS Professionals – Before, During and After COVID-19

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, EVS professionals had to deal with PPE shortages like other members of the health care team. They were prioritized in getting proper PPE because of their essential role and because their role often requires them to spend long periods of time in rooms where sick patients are housed. With administrators updating the EVS staff daily and transparently providing relevant transmission information, EVS professionals stepped up to work on units with COVID-19 patients.

  3. EVS Professionals Provide Comfort to Patients

    Patients often open up to EVS professionals because they are in the room to clean, not to do anything invasive to the patient. Having a friendly face and a listening ear provided comfort to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when visitors were not allowed in the hospital. EVS professionals are also taught to watch for signs a patient may need assistance and to alert other members of the care team.

  4. Improved Collaboration Among the Health Care Team

    COVID-19 emphasized the need for collaboration across the entire health care team. EVS professionals undergo training and education so that they have the knowledge and skill needed to keep patients safe. During that training, they learn about microbiology and the importance the care environment plays in keeping patients safe. Health care facilities should empower EVS personnel to ask questions and engage with physicians. They should receive respect as important members of the patient care team.

This post provides highlights from episode ten of the Stories of Care podcast, Partners in Care: Environmental Services on the Front Line of Infection Prevention and Control. Listen to the full episode with Pam Toppel here.

Project Firstline is a national collaborative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide infection control training and education to frontline health care workers and public health personnel. The American Medical Association is proud to partner with Project Firstline, as supported through CDC-RFA-CK20-2003. CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this article do not necessarily represent the policies of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.


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