For EVS Providers, It’s a Matter of Time
In 2016, Daniyal Zuberi, professor of social policy and RBC chair in applied social work research at the University of Toronto, published Cleaning Up. Conducting extensive research for the book, Zuberi found cleaners were being pressured to work quickly and cut corners. He found this was especially likely to occur in the aftermath of an outbreak of infectious disease.
Numerous reports and the CDC show the close connection between proper cleaning and responsible disinfecting protocols and a reduction in the incidence of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), which account for an estimated 99,000 related deaths annually in the United States. Meanwhile, nothing can sink patient satisfaction survey results, HCAHPS scores, and CMS reimbursements faster than high HAI rates.
Keeping HAI rates low starts with a commitment from management to support the EVS team, including providing the budget, time, and tools necessary to produce a clean, healthy, safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors.
Cleaning Is a Process
Increasingly, EVS providers report an inability to perform their jobs adequately in shortened timeframes. Proper cleaning and disinfecting is a process that, to be done correctly, takes a certain amount of time. To reduce cleaning and disinfecting time and maintain the same quality standards is impossible. In a hospital or other healthcare setting, where the chance of spreading infectious disease is elevated, such cuts are even more dangerous.
EVS providers call this a “trash and dash” approach, one that can lead to sickness and even needless deaths. Some EVS workers have compared it to the healthcare professionals in different departments being asked to do the same—for instance, a doctor being asked to cut 10-15 minutes off a heart surgery.
Following proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures and protocols requires time and training. The best EVS providers are accustomed to performing within budget constraints. But nowhere does the adage “you get what you pay for” deserve more consideration than in a hospital’s overall infection-prevention strategy.
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