During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Augusta Health employees are working in new roles—in preparation for a potential surge of COVID patients at Augusta Health, they have been redeployed to other areas of the hospital to support those efforts. Their skills and talents, along with their willingness to help wherever needed, has resulted in their using their work hours to make a difference in a new way.
Zachary Allen, Personal Trainer from the Augusta Health Fitness Center, is one of the redeployed employees. He has been cross-training in the laundry department to assist this vital team with their day-to-day operations.
Just a few weeks ago, Allen was working with clients at the Augusta Health Fitness Center, creating workouts and helping them reach various fitness goals. The Fitness Center closed to comply with social distancing and government recommendations, so he was reassigned to work with the laundry unit, running two large pieces of equipment that fold and iron clean blankets, sheets, pillow cases, contours, bed spreads, and gowns for various hospital departments. Allen also helps where he's needed with any other task in the department.
Allen notes that cleanliness is front and center now. "We are always washing our hands and keeping things as clean as possible," he says.
The thing I enjoy most about working in my new department is seeing how things behind the scenes work," says Allen. "This experience has shown me that every department within the hospital is the key to ensuring our hospital runs smoothly."
He feels very positive about the work he is doing. Allen explains, "As we walk through the hallways at the end of the day to distribute the different linens, I see the things we've cleaned and folded in the linen closets and it makes my role in the laundry feel important."
Augusta Health's Environmental Services (EVS) department has always had a major role in managing the cleanliness of all of the hospital departments, but during this COVID 19 pandemic, their roles are more critical to the organization than ever. To ensure that that all areas of the hospital are safe and clear of organisms after routine cleaning, they use the Surfacide System.
The Surfacide System is a three tower UVS light system that disinfects a variety of surfaces and spaces. Surfacide provides evidence based, automated UV-C system that data indicate is effective against multi-drug resistant organisms including the Coronavirus. With three emitters, the Surfacide system is able to cover more surface area in each room and provide a safer environment.
Jennifer Dixon, EVS Team Leader, and Alisa Byers, EVS Project Specialist Technician, have a combined almost 20 years of experience in the Environmental Services Department. They work with the Surfacide system.
Dixon's primary role is to prepare supplies for her team. She assigns team members to their areas each day and responds to various daily requests received in EVS. Byers' primary responsibilities include floor maintenance. She runs the Surfacide System in the isolation rooms after they have been cleaned.
Both have seen a lot of changes in day to day operations since the COVID response began. All team members wear masks daily. Their daily huddles are held in larger rooms to allow proper social distancing. They have improved communication within and outside of the departments to ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being properly used and conserved as needed. They are also training re-deployed employees from other departments in preparation for a surge of patients.
Byers says, "I feel confident knowing every day that I am doing my part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the hospital. And before I go home each day, I end my day with a shower to prevent the spread of COVID 19 to my family."
Dixon says, "I am constantly making our team aware of all of the changes happening daily and ensuring that they are following proper PPE guidelines. It's a great feeling to hear from others that they appreciate all that our department is doing."