The Dirty Truth

Answers to Your Hospital Housekeeping and Janitorial Service Questions.

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Why Outsourcing Your EVS Department Could Be the Godsend Your Hospital’s Been Waiting For

Why Outsourcing Your EVS Department Could Be the Godsend Your Hospital’s Been Waiting For

A spic and span hospital environment (on a both surface and molecular level) is an indisputable must in order to promote patient health, lower Healthcare Acquired Infection (HAIs) rates, keep regulatory agencies such as Joint Commission at bay, and score highly on the “always clean” portion of the HCAHPS survey. Despite the central role an Environmental Services department plays in a hospital’s successful functioning, running such a department in-house can be full of built-in headaches such as: keeping up to date with training requirement amidst high staff turnover dealing with erroneous work comp claims and finding a qualified EVS director familiar with government healthcare regulations . . . just to name a few. Every hospital management team wants a highly efficient and effective EVS department but not many want to invest the time, money, and effort required to keep this department running smoothly. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise […]

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Handwashing: We’re Not as Clean as We Say We Are

Handwashing: We're Not as Clean as We Say We Are

If I tell you that it’s Global Handwashing Day today and that it’s important to spread the word about proper hand washing tell me, what is your first response? If you’re anything like me, your first reaction might be to yawn and tell me that you mastered handwashing in preschool or kindergarten, right around the time you got your ABC’s down pat. Well, handwashing, like many things in life, is not quite as simple as it appears on the surface. Your Handwashing Report Card Americans are notorious for their obsession with cleanliness and personal hygiene. However, we seem to be experiencing some sort of national disconnect between our desire to appear clean and how clean we actually are. Do this self-check. Can you, in all honesty, say that, as the Center for Disease Control suggests, you wash your hands: Before, during, and after preparing food Before eating food Before and […]

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5 Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting New EVS Equipment

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting New EVS Equipment

I recently made a purchase of a large ticket item for our hospital’s Environmental Services Department. A brand new 20″ battery burnisher sold by a major manufacturer. Although the procurement process went smoothly there have been a few hiccups in obtaining warranty support from the manufacturer. Though the vendor I purchased the burnisher from has been very supportive, this experience reminded me of the importance of doing your proverbial homework before making expensive equipment purchases. Here are a few things to consider when selecting new equipment for purchase to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience: (1) Durability Is the equipment built to withstand everyday use or will it start to deteriorate after a few months? What do your colleagues or industry support groups have to say about the type of equipment you are considering? (2) Product support Who will be providing warranty service for your equipment – the manufacturer or […]

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Raising the Standard of Clean in Environmental Services Part II

Raising the Standard of Clean in Environmental Services Part II

In our last post we talked about the importance of proper cleaning in Environmental Services and how many hospitals are unwittingly doing a poor job of it. In a presentation for the CDC on “The Role of Environmental Cleaning in Preventing HAIs”, Dr. Keith Woeltje of the Washington University School of Medicine cited studies that showed that though most hospital surfaces looked clean, their current cleaning program was not effectively removing pathogens. This negligence has serious implications on patient health, namely that it dramatically increases a patient’s likelihood of acquiring a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI). The primary purpose of his talk, however, was not to point fingers but to provide solutions. Dr. Woeltje outlined a programmatic approach that was tested in thirty-six hospitals. It started with collecting baseline data on current cleaning effectiveness and ultimately empowered ES staff to engage in an on-going self-auditing process. Here’s what happened: In Phase […]

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Raising the Standard of Clean in Environmental Services Part I

Raising the Standard of Clean in Environmental Services Part I

I cannot tell you how many times a day people walk into our office, sniff the air and say, “Wow, it smells really nice and clean in here”. I am always flattered and glad to hear this. We are a janitorial services company after all, so keeping things clean is our bread and butter. However, as nice as it is to hear these compliments, the fact that our office smells pleasantly of “Trade Winds” has almost nothing to do with how clean it actually is. (Another example of this can be seen in Fabreze’s most recent series of commercials.) Well then, how can you know a place is clean when it really counts? In a hospital or your doctor’s office, for example? Most people look at the condition of the floors and the overall level of tidiness. If the floors are shiny and waxed, people tend to assume that the rest […]

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How Healthcare Providers, Patients, & ES Staff Can Stop CRE

How Healthcare Providers, Patients, & ES Staff Can Stop CRE

What are CRE? CRE stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Quite a mouthful right? Carbapenem are last resort antibiotics and Enterobacteriaceae are bacteria normally found in the human gut. If we put those together, we’ve got bacteria that are nearly impossible to treat with anything in our current arsenal of antibiotics. They are also lethal. Some strains have been known to kill up to 50% of those people infected. What is most worrisome to many health professionals, including the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Friedan, is that this bacteria are becoming increasingly widespread. The first reported case was in 2001 and since then CRE have been found in 42 states, generally in in-patient healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. Eighteen percent of long-term acute care hospitals reported a case of CRE during the first-half of 2012. People most vulnerable to CRE are those […]

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Commercial vs. Medical Cleaning

Commercial vs. Medical Cleaning

Recently I was at a Chamber of Commerce function and someone asked me about the difference between cleaning an office and a medical facility. To best answer this question the first thing we need to establish is what is clean? And the truth is that it depends. “Clean” in an office is different than “clean” in a hospital. “But why?” you say. “Isn’t there a universally applicable standard of clean?” Well… yes and no. Fundamentally cleaning has two purposes: to make a space look nice (to turn disorder into order – akin to pushing a reset button) and to reduce the “bio load” on a surface. Bio load is a fancy way to describe the dust, dirt and grime (i.e. the organic material) that accumulates. Normally, some of this you can see (obvious dust and dirt) and some of this is only perceptible through a microscope. If you do a […]

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5 Tips for Floor Care Mastery

5 Tips for Floor Care Mastery

Let me tell you a story of the hardest, slowest and costliest floor job in my cleaning history. . . My girlfriend and future wife was away at school in London and I needed to make some quick money doing extra work. I had stripped floors from time to time with my Dad in our family janitorial business so I figured I would take a floor job on my own. When I got to the job site, I remember that the floor looked pretty good. It had a shine to it but also had a shadow of dirt under the “wax”. No biggie right? Wrong! The first night I stripped the same 8×8 area for six hours using over a gallon of stripper and three black pads. After much trial and error, I figured out that following the instructions on the back of the stripper container helped greatly (what a […]

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Getting Fear Out of the Driver’s Seat

Getting Fear Out of the Driver's Seat

Many of us have been trained to use systems. We use them to be more efficient and productive. There is one system, however, that runs through all areas of our lives that is not helpful but destructive. This system contains very important ingredients (control, dependence, distrust and scarcity) and we find it at work all around us. This system is called FEAR. Inside of this unconscious system we have made choices that make us who we are: where we work, who we marry, what religion we choose, which political party we side with…The list goes on. In this system we strive to be liked and will do anything to gain the admiration of as many people as we can. Let’s face it, this system is about not having enough and never being able to get it. This is a system of survival. Below are two real-life examples of the system of […]

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Thankfulness in the Workplace

Thankfulness in the Workplace

In the business world, we are not trained to be thankful but rather to give the majority of our attention to what is not going well. We obsess over our goals; what has failed in the past and what we need to change in the present. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think goal-orientation is good. As it is said, “Without vision, a people perish.” The human spirit flounders without a sense of future-oriented hope. However, as it is also said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. It is essential that we find a sense of satisfaction located in “today”. If what we are hoping for is always located in “tomorrow”, after a while, it will be hard to find the energy to keep going. So here’s an idea… What would it be like to just be openly thankful and to call out the things that we are grateful for […]

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