News & Updates from Niagara Health

Share This Page

IN IT TOGETHER: EVS team helps to create safe environment at NH sites

Posted May 13th, 2020

IN IT TOGETHER: EVS team helps to create safe environment at NH sites

This is part of a series of stories profiling members of the Niagara Health team and the work they are doing as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet Kevin Traynor, Manager of Environmental Services at our St. Catharines Site.

Kevin Traynor always knew Niagara Health had a strong Environmental Services (EVS) team.

But seeing the way the team is going above and beyond during the pandemic has been especially inspiring for Kevin, who is the manager of EVS at our St. Catharines Site. The EVS team has a vital role in preventing the spread of infection and in creating a safe environment for everyone across all Niagara Health sites.

“We have had so many staff volunteer to work in areas where there are COVID-positive patients,” says Kevin, who also is the manager of the Patient Transportation team at the St. Catharines Site. “There is such a feeling of cooperation and teamwork, that it fuels our purpose and has brought a real sense of pride and commitment to our role within the larger NH team.”

The team cleans and disinfects all clinical areas, including patient rooms, medical equipment, ORs, as well as public areas such as waiting rooms and washrooms. Some of their other responsibilities include patient linen deliveries, and all aspects of waste removal, including bio-medical waste such as sharps containers.

What changes have been made in EVS due to the pandemic?

Early on, the EVS team prepared the physical environment of the nursing units, cafeterias and waiting rooms, by moving furniture and taping off spaces to meet the needs of physical distancing and to ensure best practices of cleaning and disinfecting could be successful. We have enhanced our cleaning in key areas with additional team members attending to washrooms and high-traffic areas to keep people safe and reduce the risk of any spread of the virus. Our team is working longer hours in support of the clinical teams and our overall response to the pandemic.

What have you found to be the most challenging during the pandemic for you and your team?

It’s like living in an accelerated environment. Much faster, with plenty of side projects. You learn that this virus doesn’t wait. Teleconferences instead of face-to-face meetings are challenging. With over 16 years working at NH, I really miss being able to meet at a table with my colleagues and see them. It is difficult at times to rely on just the audio portion of a meeting to communicate.

Describe working with your team?

I am overwhelmed with pride in everyone. Front-line EVS, porters and supervisors are giving everything they have, every day. Whether it’s an EVS aide or a porter, patients know that there is a smile under our masks. Our team have so much direct patient time and we use it well to let patients know we care and that they are in the best hands at all times. Our team is in the best possible position to help the organization and to help the community. I can’t imagine going through this pandemic without the leadership we have in place. Our Senior Team are great supporters and ensure our team is provided with what we need. Logistics, procurement, bio-med, infection prevention and control, all the clinical managers – our relationships and trust between departments has only strengthened due to the pandemic. 

How has the pandemic impacted you personally?

Both my wife and I have an older parent who live out of town, so it has been difficult not visiting them. We have three children in university. I had to pick two up on the same day from different locations with 24-hours’ notice. These are small issues compared with some of our team who have sick or dying family members during this time of physical distancing. I have to say that it has been great having the kids at home with us, and we are enjoying making them play board games and watch old movies with us.

Click on the In It Together button below to read more stories about our team.

Niagara Health System