How EVS for Hospitals in Los Angeles Can Reduce HAIs
When it comes to preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) agrees with the medical community: Good hand hygiene is vital for environmental services (EVS) for hospitals in Los Angeles to reduce the spread of HAIs—and raise HCAHPS scores.
Unfortunately, there are statistics about hospital staff that are also dismaying. According to the CDC, many healthcare workers wash their hands less than half as often as they should, while the WHO estimates adherence to proper handwashing by these workers to be as low as 40%. Meanwhile, healthcare facilities in low-income countries report handwashing levels as low as 9%.
Moreover, despite being on the frontline during the worst of COVID-19—and the CDC’s and WHO’s emphasis on the need for handwashing to stop the virus—an estimated 25% of hospital workers still did not adhere to proper hand hygiene practices!
Hospital Environmental Services & Hand Hygiene
Some EVS providers make sure their workers understand the importance of hand hygiene. Yet other providers assume workers know what good hand hygiene is and will automatically follow it. However, not all hospital cleaning company workers realize that good hand hygiene is about more than just keeping themselves safe. It’s also about patient safety and reducing HAIs. While proper handwashing is important for all commercial cleaning service workers, hospital EVS workers are exposed to far more potentially dangerous pathogens daily, making proper hand hygiene essential.
With this in mind, below are points that every hospital cleaning service should cover when onboarding new employees and reinforce throughout the year to ensure proper practices are being followed.
The when and where of gloves. EVS workers wearing gloves can inadvertently and quickly and easily transfer germs. EVS workers may put on gloves when entering a patient’s room, only to be called away to perform another task on another floor. Forgetting to remove their gloves, they touch the cleaning cart handle, elevator button, doorknobs to the next room, etc., while spreading germs. Similarly, a hospital EVS worker may clean a patient’s room and dispose of the trash, only to return and clean a missed surface. Changing gloves as frequently as is called for in a hospital setting does not come naturally. EVS workers must be trained and monitored for gloves to help reduce, rather than increase, the number of HAIs.
Soap versus hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends washing with soap and clean water for 15-20 seconds whenever possible. However, this is not always possible in a fast-paced environment such as a hospital and where a water source is not nearby. EVS for hospitals workers must be trained in which circumstances alcohol-based sanitizers are acceptable—and how long contact is required—versus when washing with soap and water is mandatory.
PPE procedures. PPE provides users protection against potentially dangerous pathogens. However, how it is put on, and especially how it is removed, is vital to help prevent the spread of HAIs. So, too, is following the removal of PPE with proper hand hygiene. Hospital EVS workers may wear all the right PPE while cleaning a COVID-19 patient’s room, then walk out and remove their shields, gloves, and gowns. If this removal is not immediately followed by hand cleaning, those germs will be on every item the worker touches—including the next PPE the worker wears to enter the next patient’s room.
EVS for Hospitals in Los Angeles
If you are in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California and are looking for an exemplary EVS provider, check out the Healthcare section of our website or contact us at 310-204-5040.
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