Housekeeping at Hospitals: Why Every Area Matters

When it comes to housekeeping in hospitals – now called environmental services (EVS)—a question that is often asked of EVS providers is, “What are the most important areas or rooms to clean in the hospital?”

Answering this question, many EVS providers are quick to recite what seems the most obvious list, including:

  • Surgical areas
  • Areas where there are patients with compromised immune systems
  • The emergency department
  • Patient rooms.

Indeed these areas are critical to keep clean to protect patients and prevent the spread of other pathogens that can lead to Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and other potentially deadly healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). However, often the importance of housekeeping in hospitals in other areas is downplayed, when the truth is they require the same cleaning diligence. Below are some of these areas with examples of why maintaining their cleanliness is so important.

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Restroom. Restrooms are always an area of concern for infection prevention. But in hospitals, the chance of spreading dangerous pathogens is much higher. Consider visitors who come from a sick loved one’s room to use the restroom. Since few people wash their hands first, most have touched the restroom door/doorknob, stall door, their clothing, the side of the sink, and (if they are not automated) toilet and sink handles—all prior to washing their hands. The next person to use the restroom may come into contact with the pathogens left on each of these surfaces. This is another reason it is so vital to wash your hands after using the restroom!

Lobby. Hospital lobbies are often thought to require less frequent cleaning and, especially, disinfecting than patient rooms. This is debatable, especially in times of outbreaks of highly infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, MRSA, and C. diff—which are more likely to exist in a hospital setting. But here, it is not just humans that are would-be pathogen carriers. Consider: Visitors enter hospital lobbies, walking in with shoes, coats, and even hats that have been in a variety of environments. The visitor takes off her coat drapes it on the chair, then sits down, placing her purse and briefcase or laptop on the floor. When she goes to leave or enter another area of the hospital, the germs on these items go with her to find a home on another surface in a new location.

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Cafeteria. When you head to the hospital cafeteria to grab a quick bite to eat, you may be getting more than you intended in terms of germs. Of course, food can be the source of several illnesses, such as norovirus and Salmonella. Perhaps more worrisome in a hospital setting is how many of these are highly transmissible not only through food but also through contact with an infected person or surface. And of course, this is true of hundreds of other types of pathogens brought in by other hungry visitors to be generously, if unintentionally, shared with their fellow diners.

Pharmacy. Many hospitals offer the convenience of allowing patients to pick up prescriptions from their onsite pharmacies. Unfortunately, most people who go to pick up drugs are doing so because they are sick with anything from a nagging cough, sore throat, or runny nose to something worse. Sadly, without a vigilant EVS provider, there’s a good chance you might pick up more than you intended from that counter or card reader.

We hope these few examples haven’t turned you into a complete germaphobe. However, whether you refer to it as housekeeping or EVS, hopefully, these scenarios have illustrated the importance of housekeeping in hospitals—and why it needs to be conducted in every nook and cranny.

EVS Providers Near Me

If you are in Southern California and are looking for an exemplary EVS provider, check out the Healthcare EVS partner section of our website or contact us at 310-204-5040.

Are you looking for an environmental services hospital job in Los Angeles/ LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, or other areas of Southern California? Read what these employees say about working at Servicon and find out more about careers with Servicon.

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We help produce higher HCAHPS scores, lower HAIs, and faster throughput, which translates into more budget dollars to spend on your business of saving lives.

We invite you to to find out more about Servicon’s cleaning services for complex facilities and to schedule a free assessment.