We Are Environmental Services Initiative
Please join AHE in ongoing efforts
Help AHE transform how the broader health care community recognizes environmental services professionals and their teams . . . but more importantly how environmental services views themselves.
Defining the Role
AHE has started this initiative to encourage professionals in the field to begin, or continue to refer to the departments and the personnel caring for the health care environment as environmental services professionals rather than as housekeepers, janitors and custodians. The staff and management teams responsible for maintaining the clinical environment of care require different skills and competencies from those needed in the commercial cleaning and general maintenance industry and it's time we address this critical distinction.
The knowledge of health care environmental services professionals and their front line staff is rooted in the fundamentals of infection prevention, microbiology and evidence based practice related to cleaning and disinfection. And, there are key differences between health care and non-health care roles associated with managing multiple waste streams, floor care, linen handling and distribution.
What can I do?
- Start the Conversation: If you're not already doing so, start using the term "environmental services" rather than housekeeping, janitorial services and custodial services. Officially changing the job title associated with a position within a facility can be involved but, start the conversation with your team, your superiors, your administration, your human resources department, and your product and service providers.
- Be Your Own Advocate: You should have a seat at the table in policy and other critical discussions involving the clinical environment of care. Don't wait for an invitation, be assertive and ask to participate in crucial conversations, or better yet, initiate the discussion yourself.
- Raise Support: Advocate for continued education and professional development support to align the job with the requisite competencies needed.