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The Crucial Role of Environmental Services

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Members of the Environmental Services Team
Members of the Huntsman Cancer Institute Environmental Services team

In recent years, the department responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the Huntsman Cancer Institute Hospital has transitioned from being known as “housekeeping” to the more encompassing title of Environmental Services (EVS). This update reflects the multifaceted nature of their responsibilities, as the 91 dedicated EVS employees at our cancer hospital play an indispensable role in ensuring the safety of patients, visitors, and staff alike.

Guardians of Infection Prevention and Control

Working in close collaboration with Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Infection Control and Prevention teams, EVS personnel work to reduce infection risk. For example, they are entrusted with the critical task of maintaining the utmost cleanliness standards in blood and marrow transplant (BMT) inpatient rooms. This is especially crucial, as BMT treatments severely compromise patients’ immune systems, leaving them highly vulnerable to infections. To further protect patients and safeguard the well-being of staff, EVS employees are vaccinated against Covid, the flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B.

Champions of Waste Collection and Management

Beyond cleanliness, EVS is responsible for the proper collection and disposal of waste as well as the collection and laundering of linens. Importantly, EVS staff are extensively trained in the safe disposal of hazardous materials, chemotherapy waste, and medical waste.

Advocates for Recycling and Sustainability

In 2022, EVS initiated a single-stream recycling program for cardboard, aiming to reduce the cancer hospital’s carbon footprint. Because nearly every hospital supply arrives in cardboard boxes, this endeavor prevents tons of cardboard waste from going to landfills every week. Materials can now be recycled and repurposed, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Partners in Exceptional Patient Care and Safety

EVS goes above and beyond the expectations of Huntsman Cancer Institute patients and visitors by adding personalized, hotel-style touches to their services. For example, upon discharge from the hospital, patients receive a gift bag from the EVS team as a token of goodwill.

Stuart Breen, manager of EVS at our cancer hospital, emphasizes the pivotal role of the Environmental Services team in maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients, visitors, and staff:

“Every facet of the hospital relies on the diligent work and effective cleaning carried out by this dedicated team.”

Cancer touches all of us.