It’s National Healthcare Environmental Services Week and we’re proud to honor the EVS teams worldwide who strive to provide safe, comfortable and clean facilities all year long. We thought about how we (Xenex) could best honor those who’ve made a commitment to working in Environmental Services and concluded that we’d like to let your fellow EVS colleagues share how they’ve encouraged their teams and some stories that have helped them along the way.

When it comes to encouragement, Mario Pensabene, Director of Environmental Services at Phelps Memorial Hospital, shared this heartfelt thanks to his team, “As the first line of defense, all of our EVS staff need to be commended for not only doing a great job day in and day out, but they also deserve a lot of credit for doing so professionally, during and under the extremely difficult circumstances of this pandemic. They made my and management’s job relatively easy by following the directive and the everchanging daily Dept. of Health changes given to them. I want to thank all of them for their commitment and professionalism to their craft.”

The COVID pandemic continues to weigh heavily on healthcare workers and finding the strength to continue goes beyond a commendable act, it’s a commitment. There’s an ever-expanding number of EVS teams around the world who have adopted the LightStrike UV disinfection robots as part of their room disinfection program. Mario continued that they have not only seen a positive impact, but they’re building comradery with their team. “My advice to anyone else who is thinking about implementing this program; do it and you won’t regret it. This has been without a doubt, one of the most successful programs we’ve initiated in EVS. We’ve always strived to make patient care experience a focus of our daily operations and make it a positive one for each of our patients that walks through our doors, and all our decisions are based and made with that thought in mind. The fact that the majority of the staff advocated for the LightStrike Robots, an initiative to bring enhanced UV disinfection technology to our facility, made management’s task that much easier to not only motivate but encourage “friendly competition” within the department and push each other to get better with our disinfection program.”

Members of the Unity Health White County Medical Center pose with one of their 10 LightStrike disinfection Robots -- this one is named Germinator!

Members of the Unity Health White County Medical Center pose with one of their 10 LightStrike disinfection Robots — this one is named Germinator!

It’s really tough to kill what you can’t see, but that’s part of an EVS team’s job. They are responsible for disinfecting all areas of a healthcare facility – aiming to get rid of microscopic pathogens that could be picked up by a healthcare worker or the next patient who enters the room. Cheryl Colter, EVS Director at Unity Health White County Medical Center, explains how the LightStrike Robots have provided her team with pathogen-killing backup. “I teach our EVS team members that using the LightStrike Robot is like an insurance policy. I ask my crew if they’ve ever washed their car and seen missed spots afterwards when the car is dry. The answer is always yes — and I tell them that it’s the same for cleaning rooms. The robots get to areas we may have missed and kill the germs that we can’t see. We are human cleaners with a robot backup.”

The Sharp Coronado Hospital EVS team poses with their 2 LightStrike Robots.

The Sharp Coronado Hospital EVS team poses with their 2 LightStrike Robots.

Education and training were common themes we heard from EVS leaders. “Education and knowledge are key when it comes to motivating team members,” said J. Garcia, Interim EVS Director at Sharp Coronado Hospital. “Once they understand the importance of destroying germs and have a clear understanding of how the LightStrike technology helps them accomplish this, then they’re invested in the program. I think they also have a sense of comfort in conducting their job because they understand how the robot is providing a disinfected environment for them as well as our patients. For example, with isolation and COVID patient rooms, we’ll disinfect the room with a LightStrike Robot before the EVS team member cleans it so they are working in a less contaminated environment. And then after they’ve changed the linens, taken out the trash, etc. they’ll zap it again before the next patient is admitted to that room.”

We’re sending sincere thanks to all EVS workers during Healthcare Environmental Services Week and for the year to come. Thank you for your commitment to cleaning and disinfection, and for working to provide the best possible experience for your patients.