Sep 14, 2016 1:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center


You may think of the department in charge of cleaning the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) hospital as “Housekeeping.” But the name has changed in recent years to Environmental Services (EVS) in order to reflect the department’s many responsibilities. The 55 EVS employees at HCI’s cancer hospital play a crucial role in keeping patients, visitors, and staff safe.

Infection Prevention and Control

EVS works together with HCI’s Infection Prevention team and closely with the Infection Control and Prevention nurses. They meet regularly to provide interdepartmental communication on healthcare-associated infections at HCI.

EVS employees make sure blood and marrow transplant (BMT) inpatient rooms meet the high cleanliness standards required for keeping these patients safe. BMT treatments severely weaken patients’ immune systems, so it’s harder for these patients to fight infection.

In addition, EVS requires its employees to be vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B. This protects employees, patients, and visitors from potential transmission of contagious infections.

Waste Collection and Management

EVS manages garbage collection and disposal as well as linen collection and laundering. In addition, EVS staff are trained in the safe disposal of chemotherapy, hazardous, and medical waste.

Recycling

In 2015, EVS began single-stream recycling so that patients and staff don’t need to do the sorting. They also added food waste recycling. EVS specialists collect food waste from The Bistro restaurant and transport it to the Edible Campus Gardens, managed by the University of Utah Sustainability Resource Center as outdoor laboratories for a variety of academic courses. The gardens project is active year-round. Produce from the gardens is sold seasonally at the University of Utah Farmer’s Market.

Employee and Patient Satisfaction Is in the Details

EVS exceeds HCI’s patient and visitor expectations with personalized hotel-style touches. Many patients are pleasantly surprised to find origami bath towels and washcloths on the bathroom counter.

Another personal touch is each inpatient receives a care kit with a tablet and pen packaged in a cellophane bag and an EVS business card. In addition, EVS provides a gift bag to patients when they are discharged from the hospital.

EVS leaders strongly value their associates. The department conducts annual awards ceremonies to honor those who exceed expectations and inspire those around them. At the departmental level, honors can be humorous—the award for the cleanest restrooms or bathrooms is candy toilets.

“Every employee’s efforts matter a great deal to me,” says Linda Rogers, manager of Environmental Services at HCI’s cancer hospital. “I let them know how important they are to our patients. I try to bring out the best in everyone working to create our department’s success.”


Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

cancer care blood and marrow transplant

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