February 23, 2007

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Why can't patient rooms be closed for cleaning and repairs?

Answer: As we all know, demand for our hospital rooms is extremely high and often exceeds availability.

With patients often waiting in the Emergency Department for a room to become available, rooms shouldn't be closed unless it's absolutely necessary.

Routine cleaning is, of course, done with each patient discharge, even when a patient is waiting to occupy the room.

Deep cleaning of patient rooms is done on a rotating schedule a few rooms at a time, as well as on an as-needed basis.

Any time a room is unoccupied, housekeepers may be available on short notice to perform any level of cleaning. If the patient has left the room temporarily — perhaps for testing or for a procedure — there may be an opportunity for routine cleaning, detailed cleaning, high dusting or even deep cleaning, which includes washing walls and ceilings and stripping and waxing floors. Call Environmental Services, 343-1000 (VUH), or 936-8240 (Children's Hospital). All services are available 24/7.

Deep cleaning requires that the room be unoccupied for two hours. If you're calling for deep cleaning and floor care on short notice, ask to speak to a member of the management team in Environmental Services.

Repairs generally can be performed between admissions or even while the room is occupied. Repair services are available from Plant Services on short notice, 24/7. Call 322-2041.

For additional information or to provide feedback, call Environmental Services.

Again, our goal is that patient rooms not be closed more than is absolutely necessary.

— Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs