Boubacar Maiga on Johns Hopkins Hospital Environmental Care

One hospital, one cleaning team. That was the idea behind the transition of multiple cleaning teams into one single entity, the newly renamed Environmental Care Department, which is responsible for cleaning each and every inch of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Previously called environmental services as a part of General Services, the hospital’s cleaning team was outsourced through Broadway Services until a decision was made in July 2013 to bring all cleaning responsibilities in-house.

Boubacar Maiga

The result was a change in name to the Environmental Care Department and a shift in structure to become a department within the Johns Hopkins Health System’s Facilities Department. In addition to cleaning common areas, administrative offices and floors throughout the hospital, the Environmental Care Department most recently assumed responsibility for cleaning patient rooms, operating rooms and clinical areas that had previously been maintained by support associates and operating room associates within different areas of the hospital.

This transition has taken place under the watchful eye of today’s expert, Boubacar Maiga, director of environmental care, who invites you to submit questions you may have about the department’s recent changes and refocus.

 

What prompted the change in name from environmental services to environmental care?

For quite some time, environmental services was marginalized from taking care of the clinical areas. Because it had been so long, the cleaning crew felt excluded from patient care, which should be the primary responsibility of every department working within the hospital. By changing from environmental services to environmental care, we are trying to make that connection between our services and the strategic priority of patient- and family-centered care.

Some may not be aware of the Environmental Care Department’s responsibilities. How would you sum up the purpose of the department?

The Environmental Care Department plays a primary role in patient care and safety, acting as the liaison between both areas. We prevent healthy people from getting sick by properly sanitizing and disinfecting the areas they use, and we help sick people get better by providing them with a clean and sanitary environment. We serve as guides throughout the Johns Hopkins community, since we are the only group that works in every area every day of the week, 24 hours a day.

Besides the name change, what are some of the major modifications the department has undergone over the last year?

The department has undergone a fundamental transformation over the last year.

  • The contract management team has been replaced by an in-house management team, working for The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • We have centralized all of the cleaning under one umbrella and one leadership team. By doing so, we have moved The Johns Hopkins Hospital from using nine different cleaning models to just one.
  • We have standardized cleaning protocol, including cleaning materials.
  • We have moved to more efficient and effective cleaning methods by introducing microfiber cleaning.
  • We have established a clear service-level agreement.
  • We are moving from a culture of underachievement and unaccountability to one of high achievement and accountability.

What is in store for the department in 2015?

We implemented the single cleaning model on Feb. 22, 2015, and are working toward cleaning and improving the appearance of the hospital. We will work to improve our Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) number, which is our patient satisfaction rating, by enhancing our customer service. We have a patient advocate group for the Environmental Care Department whose goal is to speak to every patient about his or her experience.

As of April 15, hospitals will be rated like hotels; the higher the star, the better the overall service and care provided. The Environmental Care Department plays an essential role in hospital ratings—we have to make sure that the hospital is clean and presentable, and that each and every area is disinfected properly. In this country, there are still 100,000 people that die every year from hospital-acquired infections, and we would like to do our part to minimize that risk every day.

What is the department’s overall mission in regard to the recent changes?

The department’s overall mission is to provide patients, their families and visitors with a clean, sanitized and client-friendly environment. We are one the best care-giving institutions, so the Environmental Care Department strives to make The Johns Hopkins Hospital the cleanest and most sanitized health care institution.

We are working with other departments to increase safety and reduce infection by tying our cleaning and disinfecting methods to infection rates. Fighting and reducing infection in health care remains a big challenge, and the Environmental Care Department has the responsibility to help find the solution. We are trying several innovative approaches, such as using floor finishes that makes the floors resistant to bacteria by applying a coating that sterilizes the surface. This is a fairly new technology that could revolutionize the whole industry if successful.

 

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3 Comments

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Zayed Tower Employee March 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm

In the Zayed tower the stairwells and floors in the hallways breakrooms and locker rooms as well as the actual OR are consistently dirty. They have stains and lots of dust bunnies in the stairwells (I thought I saw a mouse but it was actually a huge ball of dust and lint) the hallway floors are really bad near the PACU and Family waiting rooms. Is the area to be cleaned daily or only when there are enough complaints?

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Phipps Building employee March 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

I am an employee in the Phipps Building and would love to request a thorough cleaning of both the stairwells on either end of this beautiful, historic building. There are lots of visible coffee stains, dust bunnies, hair and other leftovers on these once-beautiful marble steps.

I am excited for this change and am hopeful that these historic buildings will shine brightly once again.

Thank you!

Reply

Boubacar Maiga March 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

Thank you for bringing up this issue; we are working very hard to establish consistency in our daily service delivery. We are still hiring and soon we will be fully staffed and I am sure the inconsistencies will go away.
Thank you,

Reply

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