Author: Darlene Bernd
Environmental Services, or EVS, is a group of professionally trained healthcare cleaning staff. They’re not just cleaners. In fact, the term Environmental Services is used as the standard reference in healthcare. Specially trained, EVS Technicians ensure safe and compliant operations to help prevent the spread of infectious disease within a medical or healthcare facility.
Any healthcare facility, regardless of its size, faces certain risks in the environment – including those related to hazardous materials, medical equipment, fire, and safety. EVS Technicians work directly alongside the clinical staff to create a completely aseptic environment for patients as they’re being treated.
Although EVS Technicians may sometimes be referred to as Janitors, their role within medical facilities goes much further than simply dusting, mopping, and wiping down surfaces. A deep cleaning by EVS staff provides a significant contribution to reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The impact of effective surface hygiene Through the prudent use of EPA Registered hospital-grade anti-microbial products and advanced technologies, like UV-C germicidal light have shown the ability to create much healthier environments for patients and staff alike. EVS staff are also trained on the proper protocol to deal with hazardous waste and bodily fluid cleanup. With the development of new chemistry and technologies in surface hygiene, the job of the EVS technician requires continuous learning and ongoing training on technologies like ultraviolet C wave (UV-C) disinfection and hydrogen peroxide (HP) vapor.
Along with EPA-registered hospital-grade antimicrobial products, EVS staff utilize:
Brian Le of Synexis, a biotechnology company and leader in microbial reduction, says “One study found that a healthcare worker’s hands are as likely to be contaminated by touching an environmental surface as they are by direct contact with a patient.”
Everyone who’s cared for, works in, or visits a hospital will come in contact with countless objects and areas prone to surface contamination. Contaminated surfaces can be found in the lobby, wheelchairs, or portable equipment that’s moved around from room to room. Think about the curtains separating treatment areas, shades, shower curtains – all represent fomites (or objects likely to carry infection) as patients come and go. Even personal items like purses, cell phones, magazines, and especially shoes can effectively spread pathogenic organisms. Simply picking up a purse and placing it on a floor can increase the risk.
The role EVS plays in Healthcare Cleaning
Unlike Terminal Cleaning, where the cleaning is completed after a patient leaves, EVS staff works directly and in collaboration with the clinical and infection prevention practitioners to help reduce the risk of HAIs from contaminated surfaces. They prioritize specific areas that are high risks and follow surface hygiene protocol standards set by the CDC and organizations like APIC.
The entire healthcare field relies on these high-quality cleaning crews to help protect patients and minimize the risk of serious infections.
Along with effective cleaning and disinfecting, EVS Technicians also play a big part in patient satisfaction – after all, the environment is the first thing a patient notices when entering a hospital or medical facility. A first impression of a medical facility can say a lot, especially to someone who’s going through a rough time regarding their health.
Patients view cleanliness as an indicator of the quality of care they will receive in a medical facility – if their perception of the facility is not sanitary, they’ll question the performance in other areas.
Oftentimes, EVS Technicians may be in patient-facing situations and directly interact with patients while cleaning their rooms. This means they can set the tone of the facility and boost a patient’s trust, knowing their room is hygienically clean and sanitized. EVS Technicians make a big difference in the lives and health of all patients and staff in the healthcare industry.
Review our Medical Facilities cleaning and disinfection options for your medical office or surgery center.