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Environmental Services keep safe, clean environment at Madison Hospital

MADISON – The Environmental Services team at Madison Hospital secure a clean, safe environment for patients and their doctors, nurses and technicians.

“The EVS staff is vital to the functionality of the hospital. They are a group of dedicated individuals who put in long hours to ensure the well-being of patients,” President Mary Lynne Wright said.

“Regardless of trying times we’re facing at the hospital, the staff continues to enter COVID-inhabited areas to verify that everything is sanitized and stocked with fresh linens,” Wright said. “The EVS staff is composed of super heroes, because they incessantly disregard their own safety to protect our patients and staff.”

“Although COVID-19 has caused surges in patient volume and shortages in staffing, the EVS workers still get everything completed and sanitized without complaint,” Wright said.

Elston King works as EVS Coordinator, and James Baker is Manager of Support Services. EVS has 33 employees, including temporary workers that help during COVID-19 surges.

Baker oversees plant operations and supervises security. King confirms a clean, pleasant environment for patients, visitors and staff, along with maintaining linen distribution and janitorial supplies.

Workers clean with pH7 solution or diluted bleach. COVID-19 patient rooms are cleansed with PerCept, a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant.

In daily cleaning of COVID-19 patient rooms, EVS wears Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, which retains body heat and increases stress, along with hair bonnets, shoe booties, gloves, face shields and N95 masks. Protective masks cause facial indentures that remain for hours. The staff works 10-hour, sometimes 12-hour, shifts.

“We’re constantly wiping cables; mopping floors; and cleaning toilets, sinks, bedrails, countertops and mattresses,” Wright said. “EVS workers cast themselves in direct contact with contagious bacteria and viruses.”

“A hospital our size (about 100 beds) daily produces about 300 pounds of linen, two tons of trash and just less than 200 pounds of hazardous waste,” Wright said.

COVID-19 has affected healthcare organizations detrimentally. EVS has experienced labor shortages due to high turnover. Employees have had to work many overtime hours and more extensive ‘cleans’ for rooms. The scenario has forced EVS to use contract workers from Elwood Staffing employment agency.

When a COVID-19 patient is discharged, workers have a wait period before entering a room … even longer for patients who had aerosol treatment. Then, clinical staff communicates with EVS by computer to track time for cleaning.

When EVS enters the room, they first remove and disinfect the curtain. They wipe down the room to remove any dust before saturating the room with disinfectant spray.

Next, workers strip/replace linens and wipe down the room to clean up disinfectant spray. After disinfecting the room, EVS logs the room by computer as ‘clean,’ which returns it to service. Each inpatient room requires 35-45 minutes for sanitizing; ER rooms require 15 minutes.

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