EXPLORE - Summer 2015 - (Page 7)
MESSAGE FROM THE AHE PRESIDENT
IMPACT BEYOND SCOPE
Greg May, BA, CHESP
AHE Board President,
Linen & Sustainability,
UC San Diego's Health System
hen thinking of environmental services and
its core purpose in any given organization,
it's sometimes hard to realize the scope
of this department's impact and how it
reaches far beyond its assumed cleaning
and disinfection functions. The impact of
environmental services leadership is felt across many disciplines and
services, which includes many of the topics included in this issue of
EXPLORE, including leadership among frontline staff, cleanliness as
it relates to hospital design and construction, ensuring productivity,
efficiency, and equitable workloads among staff, and having a unique
understanding of emergent pathogens and how they can affect not
only environmental services, but patients, staff, and visitors as well.
Strong, informed leadership and collaboration in support of all of
these functions is vital to regulatory compliance and organizational
success. The complexities of running what is typically the largest
non-clinical department, as well as leading in additional areas of
importance, requires a steep learning curve, strong work ethic, and
the desire to positively impact patient experience within multiple
clinical environments of care.
Through engagement in the planning, design, and construction
process, environmental services can impact building efficiency
and patient care for spans of 50 years or more. At times, the level
of involvement can seem excessive given our often stretched
resources, however, results can be greatly beneficial - not only to
the organization, but also to the environmental services department.
Environmental services brings a unique perspective to the choosing
of surfaces, including chairs, couches, exam tables, furniture, flooring,
walls, counters, dispensers, etc.
From an environmental services perspective, as designers choose
furniture fabrics in clinical environments, we need them to consider
the impact to patients. Is the fabric impervious? Is it easily cleanable?
There are many terms that often carry similar yet different meanings.
Fabrics may be listed as moisture-resistant or moisture-proof, which
can mean it has a fabric protector that requires constant reapplication. And it likely does not mean that moisture is unable to pass
through - only that it won't penetrate the actual woven fibers. This
"Strong, informed leadership
and collaboration in support
of all of these functions is vital
to regulatory compliance and
can leave chairs vulnerable to absorption of body substances into
the backing and cushioning, which subsequently creates a stained,
uncleanable breeding ground for pathogens.
Design and construction are not the only areas environmental
services has (or should have) a strong influence. We operate entirely
within the Joint Commission Environment of Care Standards of Safety
and Security. In addition, correct and optimal management of waste
streams is integral to patient, staff, and visitor safety. Our expertise
in these areas is crucial to regulatory compliance and efficient use
of fiscal resources for their removal.
Proper generating and disposal practices greatly impact perceptions as well as affect patient care and safety. With all these waste
streams being generated and with separate, complex management
practices, we must ensure that containers and wastes are maintained
to regulatory standards in order to preserve their safety.
I hope you are as energized as I am reading the great content
in EXPLORE. Please let us know your thoughts, and engage in AHE
discussions online. I'm looking forward to meeting with all of you
in Texas this September at EXCHANGE 2015.
All the best,
www.ahe.org I EXPLORE I Summer 2015 7
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of EXPLORE - Summer 2015
Message from the President
Creating Leaders on the Frontline
Workloading in Environmental Services
Meet a CHESP
EXPLORE - Summer 2015