The Golisano Children's Hospital transport team cleans and disinfects constantly and stands at the ready.
The Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida ambulances sit idle, waiting for the next call. During the COVID-19 pandemic the staff have fielded fewer calls for transport, but their work goes on.
When not transporting a pediatric patient, the crew cleans constantly.
“We have a fogger and use it after every patient,” says Niki Shimko, Golisano transport supervisor. “We take every precaution, including goggles and masks on every transport.”
An exhaust fan in the vehicle circulates continuously, blowing out air and cycling in fresh air.
Like the transport team, hospital staff also are on high alert. Pediatric critical care medicine specialist Emad Mansour, M.D. understands parents’ concerns when bringing a child to the hospital.
“Everybody’s worried about being exposed,” Dr. Mansour says. “But we are very diligent about cleaning before and after every patient. There is not increased risk at all and delaying medical care is not a good idea.”
Maria Noel, a housekeeper at Golisano, works hard to clean and disinfect the hospital multiple times a day.
Parents are waiting longer to bring their children in for treatment, which can result in a longer stay or more serious outcome. The number of patients with appendicitis has decreased significantly. When patients finally make it to the hospital, the condition requires more attention with many patients battling an infection.
“We want patients to come when they need to,” Dr. Mansour says.
On patient floors, housekeeper Maria Noel spends extra time in each room. She wears two masks, a gown and gloves.
“The cleaning now is more intense,” Noel says. “We clean every room every day, and then, if a family requests it, we come back and clean again.”
Housekeeping supervisor Sarah Rivera noted that one person on her team spends each shift addressing high-touch areas.
“All of the doors, door handles, and elevator buttons—anything that has high traffic—gets cleaned,” Rivera says. “Our main job is to break the chain of infection.”
Precautions have expanded and include the café on the second floor, which recently reopened for visitors and employees. Everyone entering the hospital is required to wear a mask and practice hand hygiene. Hand sanitizing stations, soap and water are readily available. As a result, no patients have contracted coronavirus while staying at Golisano.
Noel says that despite the extra effort involved, she does not consider the additional work a burden.
“We work for the mission and vision of this hospital,” she says. “The team is very supportive.”