MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Environmental Service (EVS) teams, and up-to-date technology, are keeping hospitals virus free.
Doctors and nurses are working overtime to treat patients impacted by COVID-19, but housekeeping employees are working just as hard alongside them, disinfecting and de-contaminating.
Tasked with an important job, these essential workers are keeping hospital staff and patients healthy despite putting their own lives in jeopardy.
Orlando Demoss, Environmental Service Director for Baptist Health, said housekeeping employees continue to show up for their patients.
“I have a team of about 52 employees and not one has missed work because of COVID or called out because of it. They have all been very engaged and willing to put our patients here at East hospital first,” Demoss said.
The pandemic means employees are paying extra attention to detail, dedicating even more time to sanitation procedures.
“My team is really focused on making sure they are hitting their high touch areas,” said Bryan Young, Environmental Service Director for Jackson Hospital in Montgomery. “Wiping down elevator buttons constantly, wiping down hands rails, also in the patient rooms making sure that we hit those high touch areas dealing with telephones, call buttons, and their side rails as well.”
“We’ve been working really hard in keeping the hospital sanitized and clean and doing extra wiping of the elevators, door jams, stairwells, and just making sure everything is sanitized,” said Dianca Wright Operations Manager at Baptist Medical Center South. “If we don’t clean the hospital, the hospital will have to close. Sanitation is a key step. If the hospital is not clean, that means the health department will have to come in.”
Along with manpower, employees have the help of technology, thanks to a device called “Tru-D”.
Before and after a patient leaves their room, the device disinfects hard to reach places. EVS teams then come in after to sanitize and wipe down surfaces.
“Although it’s been pretty tough with the pandemic, I think people feel pretty safe after they have found out that we use the Tru-D machine here,” said Demoss. “The lights hit off the walls, every angle of the room, and again 20 to 22 minutes and it’s finished, the room is now disinfected.”
Baptist Health is also now using the device to disinfect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This allows users to get up to three wears out of their PPE. This is anticipated to help with the shortage of equipment, according to Demoss.
Young said Jackson Hospital has been using Tru-D since 2017. His team uses the device twice in each room along with terminal cleaning.
“We actually run our Tru-D machine first before our team members go in there and then they also terminally clean it, and then we run the Tru-D process again and then we do another final terminal clean wipe down,” Demoss said.
Baptist Health is also following the same thorough cleaning regime.
“We are going to go in and do the muscle, the grunt work of wiping things down, that machine is then going to come in and do the zapping of the spores that may be left in the room, but it doesn’t effectively clean for you, we still have to clean the room.”
Environmental service directors and managers said they are keeping their staff motivated every day during this time. Bringing them lunch, reading them bible verses, and sending daily encouraging emails.
The same support is coming from the community. Baptist Health and Jackson Hospital said they thank the community for all of the outpouring of support and donations they have received during these unprecedented times.