A new case study examines the role of improved environmental hygiene in lowering infections and raising HCAHPS Scores at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Ill., near Chicago.

The case study, "Improved Environmental Hygiene Lowers Infections and Raises HCAHPS Scores at Rush-Copley," examines how Environmental Services (EVS) leadership at the 210-bed Level II trauma center set out in 2010 to improve patient satisfaction on the important cleanliness of the hospital environment of the federal government's Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). And in 2012, the hospital enrolled in the State of Illinois' Campaign to Eliminate Clostridium Difficile (C. diff), of which environmental cleaning and monitoring is a primary element for success.

This two-pronged initiative has helped Rush-Copley to decrease its C. diff rates by more than 50 percent, well below the national average. And, the work has resulted in a significant improvement in the hospital's national HCAHPS percentile ranking for patient satisfaction with room cleanliness.

According to the case study, as part of the initiative, EVS staff members have been given a role in informing patients and their families of how a thorough cleaning process is protecting them.

According to Elizabeth Sainski, a Sodexo manager responsible for Hospitality and Environmental Services at Rush-Copley, EVS staff members are instructed on how to enter the patient room, introduce themselves, let patients know they are there to clean and disinfect, that they will use separate color coded wipers and flat mops for the patient room and the bathroom, and only use them in that room — to prevent the spread of bacteria and eliminate cross-contamination.

The scripting while in the room is very important, Sainski said, because the EVS staff member is actively telling the patient how the cleaning is protecting him or her, thereby changing the perception of the cleaning and the sense of room cleanliness.

The case study, part of UMF Corporation's Intervention Series, can be downloaded from the company's website.