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Every year in the United States, 2,000,000 patients will contract a Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI), and 99,000 of those people will die. The remaining 1.9 million will have faced extended hospital stays, additional treatments, and untold suffering. This happens year after year.

On average, Hospital Acquired Infections cost  $37,000 per patient and due to legislation, the hospital is not permitted to bill the patient for any HAI-related expense and must pay these costs themselves.

This is where the Environmental Services Team comes in. 

The CDC has stated that improved environmental hygiene is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to reduce HAIs. It has been shown that even small improvements in cleanliness can manifest in monumental savings. This means that taking the time to properly clean a room doesn’t just save lives, it saves money too. Proper cleaning can avoid the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that a weeks-long stay due to an HAI would cost the hospital.  

Anything that the Environmental Services team can do to improve the effectiveness of the housekeeping team will save money and reduce infections. We have been working with hospitals for over 30 years now and have seen some traits among all the leading hospitals. They all possess effective management, staff recognition, ongoing training, and an active QA program. 




Solid, Predictable Management 

As a rule, people like to work on a team that is well run, where they feel appreciated, and they believe they are doing something important. The Supervisors and Managers on your staff set the management tone, so selecting and promoting the right person to each of these roles is key. Always look for someone who is dependable and a role model to their peers.  Of course, if you are promoting from within your existing ranks, you need to keep in mind that an excellent Supervisor may have a very different set of strengths than an excellent Housekeeper. Choose your supervisors and managers carefully as they are often seen as the face of management and make sure to review their performance regularly. 


Communication and feeling appreciated 

Communicating with and training your Housekeepers is critical. You can’t just show people how to do something, you must communicate to them why it is important. The majority of workers want to do an excellent job, and they are proud to fill the role of EVS. It is up to management to help them become successful in their role. Ongoing training helps your staff understand what your expectations are, and it gives you the opportunity to listen to your team. Keep in mind that you need to train and re-train your supervisors and managers as well. 


Regular QA inspections 

One common factor that we have seen with leading hospitals is their attention to quality standards. These hospitals regularly evaluate their housekeepers’ performance with QA inspections of individual rooms after they have been cleaned. These inspections look closely at how well the Housekeeper has actually cleaned the room. 

Some facilities do visual checks, while others carry out gel/fluorescent testing or even ATP testing of the surfaces in the room. What they all have in common is that they regularly do these inspections to assess how well each employee is fulfilling the role of EVS. After inspection, they review their findings with the housekeeper in question and log their results. This gives management the information they need to target training, highlight exemplary work, and support requests for budget increases, FTEs, or equipment. 



Hiring and Retaining the right people 

Finding and retaining high-quality staff is now more challenging than ever. Competition from neighboring hospitals, eldercare facilities, and even the fast-food industry makes it difficult to find and keep the right people. While competitive pay is obviously important, it is not the most important factor. Most Housekeepers we speak to are less concerned about their pay than they are about the quality of the team, work culture, management, and the chance for advancement. 

Speaking with and listening to staff, combined with a solid training program leads to a better, more effective EVS team. Walsh Integrated provides automated QA programs to Hospitals and the Education market. If you would like to learn how Walsh‘s technology can help you reduce HAIs and save lives while you save money and time, then please contact us here

Stephen Walsh is the founder and CEO of Walsh Integrated Inc. With 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Stephen brings a wealth of know-how to bear on his client’s challenges.