Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there continue to be front-line heroes everywhere you look – from bus drivers and grocery store workers, to the people coming to work at Sinai Health every day. At Mount Sinai Hospital, there are a number of people who keep the hospital clean and safe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – our Clinical Service Assistants.
These trained members of our Support Services team are tasked with cleaning and sanitizing the hospital in both our clinical care areas and public spaces. Rising to the occasion, our remarkable Clinical Service Assistants stepped up to ensure safe spaces for our patients and our people.
“We have always had very stringent cleaning practices to keep our patients and people safe – even before the pandemic, says Glenn Duncan, Director of Support Services at Mount Sinai Hospital. “What COVID-19 did was increase the volume and frequency of that cleaning, pushing our standards even higher than they already were.”
In the Emergency Department this meant an increased volume of work in rooms as many patients were either COVID-19 positive, or potentially COVID-19 positive, requiring additional precautions be taken to ensure the utmost safety for everyone. These precautions included ensuring all curtains from rooms were removed, and all surfaces given extra attention after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive patient, as well as an increase in the personal protective equipment worn by Clinical Service Assistants.
Dave Wilson, a Clinical Service Assistant in the Emergency Department, says that working through the pandemic has been challenging at times. “Especially at the beginning, the job became a bit more difficult, but once you got used to new routines, it became easier.”
Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) at Mount Sinai also played a role in sharing information and alleviating anxieties for our Clinical Service Assistants. “IPAC’s role included informing workers about how COVID-19 is spread, and working with the Support Services team to ensure that our cleaning practices protect everyone,” says Liz McCreight, Director, Infection Prevention and Control. “Our Clinical Service Assistants were really attentive when it came to understanding the importance of their role, and were never afraid to ask questions to clarify their part in keeping both patients and themselves safe.”
Sheena Alban, a Clinical Service Assistant who works in spaces across Mount Sinai, is grateful for the input of IPAC. “We had a lot of training on how to wear personal protective equipment, how to dispose of everything properly and how to keep ourselves safe. Working with Infection Prevention and Control made me feel better about the work we were all doing.”
Both Sheena and Dave agree that their colleagues have also been a great source of support through the pandemic. “We rely on and support each other. There is great team work here, which helps to take the stress out of the job,” Sheena notes. Dave adds, “Everybody does a good job and follows the practices for keeping everything clean. They care about patients and everyone’s safety.”
As information on COVID-19 continues to evolve, our Clinical Service Assistants continue to strive to ensure the health and safety of everyone who walks through our hospital’s doors.
The Sinai Health Heroes story series highlights our people and their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.