June 3, 2005

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.

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

A: The need for our hospital rooms generally 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 of rooms 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.

• Any time a room is unoccupied, housekeepers may be available on short notice to perform any level of cleaning. Call Environmental Services at 343-1000; all services are available 24/7.

If the patient has left temporarily — for testing or for a procedure, let's say — there may be an opportunity for routine cleaning, detailed cleaning, high dusting or even deep cleaning that includes washing walls and ceilings and stripping and waxing floors. (If you're calling for deep cleaning/floor care on short notice, ask to speak to a member of the management team in Environmental Services. Also, note that deep cleaning by the SWAT Team requires that the room be unoccupied for two hours.)

• 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 about cleaning of patient rooms, or to provide feedback, call Tammy Ennis at Environmental Services, 343-1000.

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

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