Health Care Heroes: Environmental Services caregivers

A key part of a patient’s team, ChristianaCare Environmental Services caregivers prepare rooms and keep them hygienic throughout a patient’s stay, with a powerful commitment to infection prevention and cleanliness.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Environmental Services team’s steadfast approach to controlling the spread of disease and supporting the safety of patients and caregivers is more crucial than ever.

“Environmental Services caregivers are the first and last line of defense in preventing the spread of infections,” said Graling High II, operations manager for the department. “They are heroes — routinely suiting up with their personal protective equipment (PPE) and going into harm’s way to fight germs.

“They put aside their trepidations and move forward to support the best care for our patients.”

To High’s praise for her team, Service Assistant Jackie Williams adds: “We’re all in this together. People’s lives are at stake.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised cleaning rooms between patients at ChristianaCare’s hospitals to a new level, High said.

Jackie Williams

“From the patient beds, to the bathrooms, to the doorknobs, to the dust on ceiling, a clean environment makes for a better healing environment for our patients,” he said. “Our caregivers must be extra vigilant in disinfecting everything that they and others touch, preventing the spread of the infection, with a goal of vigilantly following infection prevention measures.”

To that end, Environmental Services and Nursing developed a creative solution to keep rooms clean and conserve the use of PPE. In this partnership, clinical nurses are refreshing patient rooms as needed during routine visits to the patient’s room. These tasks include sanitizing surfaces and placing trash in receptacles outside of rooms where Environmental Services staff can collect it without having to enter. This adjustment in process protects patients by minimizing the number of people in their room.

Currently Environmental Services caregivers clean rooms where patients are being treated for COVID-19 on a weekly basis using a multi-step process.

“Above it all,” said High, “the spirit of the team is encouraged, energized and empathetic to the needs of our patients. They are delivering on our promise to our patients – we serve together with love and excellence.”