EVS looks to find the ‘hospital’ in hospitality

November 6, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

EVS administrative manager Ben Borden, left, and director Maurits Hughes.

On first glance, hospitals and hotels would seem to have little in common.

But department leaders in Environmental Services (EVS) are increasingly looking to the hospitality industry for new ideas and best practices. From a new “room refresh” service for patient rooms to an increased emphasis on public spaces, the department is working hard to improve the patient experience.

“We’re trying to mirror some of the things happening in the hospitality industry,” said EVS administrative manager Benjamin Borden. “We want patients to experience the level of service that they would in a hotel. Everything is geared toward providing a more comfortable and welcoming environment for our patients.”

EVS turned down bed

Modeled on prevalent turn-down services offered by hotels, EVS’ new daily room refresh service consists of three main elements: a quick cleaning, including a touch-up of the bathroom and removal of trash and linens; engagement with the patient to ensure that all needs are being met; and the distribution of “quiet kits” containing ear plugs and an eye mask to help patients rest. The service – which began in March of this year and currently covers inpatient units in University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital – takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

If the patient is not present at the time of a refresh, EVS leaves a card informing the patient of the services provided and contact information should they need anything else.

EVS afternoon supervisors round daily, speaking with patients and family members in order to solicit feedback regarding the room refresh and other services. “Rounding has proven to be a great way to keep our finger on the pulse of what our patients need,” said Maurits Hughes, director of EVS. “We’ve found that people are very receptive to our engagement efforts and the personal levels of service.”

Beyond the room refresh, the department has increased focus on public areas. “Our patients’ experience is greatly impacted with how they visibly perceive our facility when they walk in the door or in to their room,” said Hughes.

To that end, EVS has implemented a number of tactics, including streamlining staff schedules to allow more opportunities for cleaning public restrooms and increasing how often they buffer and/or wax the floors across the academic medical center.

Borden and Hughes agree that the key to these efforts’ success is a community-oriented approach. “We are working with staff on each floor to make sure that EVS is considered part of that floor’s overall care team,” said Hughes. “We’re all one community, and we want to make sure that the cleaning itself isn’t looked at as an entirely separate item.” Borden concurred: “Our work is an important part of the patient’s safety, care, and experience. We’re all doing our part to help our patients get better.”