Sep 11, 2023 | Faces of HDGH
Environmental Services Week (September 10-16, 2023) is a time to appreciate and honour our Environmental Services (ES) workers who ensure our facilities are safe, healthy and clean for all of our patients, clients, their families, staff and physicians. We are so grateful for our dedicated ES workers for their outstanding services.
The management team and all of HDGH thank you all for your hard work and dedication. The work you do is always recognized, as we receive constant feedback from patients, clients and families about how clean our hospital is and how happy they are to be here because of the level of cleanliness they see. Thank you for showing up each day and doing such amazing work for those that we serve. You are essential to helping our hospital run smoothly and are valuable to our organization!
Accreditation Canada even proclaimed HDGH as “The Cleanest Hospital in Ontario!” in their report out after surveying our hospital in early June. I hope every single ES team member is proud of this and continues to strive for excellence every day.
We recently spent some time with Heather Kirkness, Environmental Services Worker, to find out what it takes to be part of the Environmental Services Team and keep our hospital and everyone in it, safe and healthy.
My journey began 18 years ago in 2005 when I joined the Environmental Services team with Windsor Regional Hospital. During the realignment of our hospitals 10 years ago I decided to stay here at HDGH.
Every other day my morning starts with a team huddle. I find out about any important items I may need to know about and ask questions and have discussions with the team. Then, I’ll go to the floor I’m working on and stop at the Nursing Station or talk to the Charge Nurse to find out if anyone is being discharged or leaving the unit, so that I can plan out my day. Next, I’ll set up my cart and grab my booklets that helps me prepare for my cart for the day. If there are discharges, those are my priorities and I take care of those first and then go about my regular cleaning routine.
When a patient is discharged, their room is completely cleaned from top to bottom – this includes hanging new curtains, walls and floors being washed, furniture and equipment sanitized and even the toilet bowl brush gets replaced.
Once the discharged rooms are completed, I start cleaning patient rooms. If possible, I try to clean patient rooms while they are out, perhaps while at their rehab appointment, so that I cause little disruption.
After room cleaning, other areas such as lunchrooms, physio rooms, washrooms, offices, and touch points like elevator buttons, are cleaned next. Stairwells as also checked for cleaning during the week and given a deep clean on the weekend.
At the end of every day, the last thing to do is clean is my cart and hand in my keys.
I believe I am a friendly face for people to talk to about anything. I am not there to give them any medical attention or advice. I am just there to clean their room while they relax and talk about whatever they like. I have many great conversations going from room-to-room, which is one of the things I like about my job. I have met a lot of fantastic people.
Because I am in the room 15-20 minutes at a time consistently, I become a familiar face, so patients feel comfortable talking to me and I get to brighten up their day.
I enjoy talking with patients and I also like that I am helping in their recovery process by keeping their area clean, organized and sanitized. I have met so many people and have seen amazing things – people who could not walk have left here walking again. Our teams are fantastic! The nursing team, physio team and management team all make me feel part of the process. I feel so supported by them and lean on each other for help when needed. If I’m having a busy day, with multiple discharges and they know a new patient is coming in, for example, they will help me out and make up the bed. And in return, I try to help out where I can also – by stocking something up that they normally do and being a team player on the floor.
I have two wonderful boys in Gr. 8 and Gr. 5, a great husband and I’m very close with my family, especially my siblings and cousins. I’m also an animal lover and currently have a dog and bird. I try to keep a positive attitude at work and in my personal life!
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Windsor, ON N9C 3Z4
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