The Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) Environmental Services (EVS) staff are right on the frontline, working with patients and handling the most infectious material in our hospital.
As the Manager of Environmental Services, Dan Marlot never doubted that the EVS team would step up to help deal with COVID-19. But he was most impressed with everyone’s attitude: “Of course, there were some concerns at first, but the response was overwhelmingly positive. For most of the staff, it was all about saying, ‘let’s make sure we are prepared and let’s take care of this’.”
There are close to 160 EVS staff at QCH and each day, 75 to 80 team members work shifts around the clock. An additional 25 staff members have been hired over the past few months and there are still positions available. “The major impact has been on how we have had to stretch our team,” explains Dan. “On a daily basis, we have an extra 14 or 15 people dedicated to COVID-specific cleaning. We’ve had to adjust quickly, often dealing with supply shortages or alternate products.”
EVS staff are right on the front line, working with patients and dealing with and handling the most infectious material in the hospital.
“They didn’t miss a stride,” says Dan. “They are doing everything they are supposed to do to keep themselves and our patients safe.”
In many ways, the team was already well prepared for COVID-19. Protocols were in place for isolation patients and now all suspected COVID-19 patients are treated the same way. “This is our ‘new normal’ and the team has adapted really well. It is routine now,” adds Dan. To provide each other with more support, the EVS team adopted a ‘train the trainer’ program early in the pandemic. Now, designated staff are responsible for 100% of new staff training — with good success.
Looking ahead, Dan says the current workload will continue until the mass distribution of the vaccine is achieved. There is definitely some security and relief for staff knowing that they will be among the first groups to get the vaccination.