Environmental Services (EVS) leaders and staff plays an essential role in providing a clean and safe environment for all through infection prevention and control practices.
As the front line of the health care infection prevention and control (IP&C) team, environmental services (EVS) plays an essential role in the fight against the spread of infection - one that creates a cleaner, healthier and safer environment for patients, visitors and fellow health care workers.
EVS teams are exposed to environments where health care associated infections can spread rapidly if proper cleanliness and disinfection protocols are not enforced rigorously and continuously. For this reason, EVS plays a critical role in ensuring proper protocols and best practices are implemented to prevent the spread of infection across all health care settings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted opportunities to improve upon infection prevention and control knowledge and training in health care settings nationwide. It has also underscored that implementing a multidisciplinary approach to infection control can be powerful, including EVS staff, who are on the frontline of infection prevention each day.
The American Hospital Association (AHA), in collaboration with the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE), is making an effort to highlight the importance of using a multidisciplinary approach towards infection prevention and control through its participation in Project Firstline. Project Firstline is a national training collaborative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aims to provide effective health care infection control training for millions of frontline U.S healthcare workers and members of the public health workforce in the fight against infectious disease threats.
As a key partner in this initiative, AHA is offering hospitals and health systems the tools and resources needed to engage all stakeholders in the fight against infectious diseases through an all-team approach from bedside nurses to administrators to environmental staff. The AHA, in collaboration with AHE, has released a new set of infographics to support frontline health care environmental services personnel with important COVID-19 considerations for cleaning and disinfection, management of medical waste, and general precautions when performing discharge or transfer cleaning. The AHA also released a TeamSTEPPS® Video Toolkit, a collection of short videos that aim to transform health care teams by using a proven, evidence-based approach to bringing efficiency to stronger team communication, collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach across health care teams to support effective infection prevention and control.
These resources along with other Project Firstline offerings can be found on the AHA’s Project Firstline webpage . Stay tuned for the release of new resources that will further support the IPC-related needs of EVS personnel and health care engineers.