Remarkable Colleagues: Environmental Services on Front Lines with Clinicians

Now more than ever, maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness throughout patient-care facilities is crucial.

Environmental Services worker Linda Mimms is
dressed in full PPE in the Emergency Department
of Mercy Health Muskegon.

The colleagues responsible for this enormous task are members of Environmental Services (EVS). These days, environmentalists approach their jobs as if every patient has tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of where the EVS team is cleaning. This vital service helps to create safe surroundings for patients and medical staff.

Environmentalists continue to clean rooms of non-COVID patients but do not clean patient rooms daily on COVID-19 floors. At this time, nurses are taking on that responsibility.

However, when COVID patients are discharged from the hospital, environmentalists thoroughly clean those rooms to prepare them for future patients and the clinical staff that serves them.

Environmentalists, too, are health care heroes.                                                                                

Dedicated and Hardworking

Environmental Services teams work 24/7 across Saint Joseph Mercy Health System facilities in  in Southeast Michigan – one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19.

They have stepped up to do what is needed for patients, regardless of this being a scary time for many health care workers.

Oakland EVS workers at a shift change (l-r)
Susan Romaya, Jared Barnett, Michael Keyes,
Tamyka Trumbo, Arianna Conley, Eugene Bradford,
Egda Morales and Bailey Janka

“These folks didn’t hesitate,” said John Miller, Environmental Services director at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. “The team asked good questions, and once we trained everyone on the new PPE requirements and additional cleaning protocols we were providing, they jumped right in. Day in and day out, they show up to do their jobs. They know that patients are very sick and need our assistance.”

EVS colleagues “truly live our organization’s values,” he said.

We thank all of the EVS workers who are working tirelessly to keep patient-care facilities safe by destroying this deadly virus. You are not forgotten.

Calm, Cool and Collected

Soon after the first COVID-19 patients were diagnosed in Michigan, Linda Mimms stepped up by volunteering to work all of her shifts in Pod E in the Emergency Department at Mercy Health Muskegon. Pod E is where all patients with respiratory symptoms are initially cared for, including those with COVID-19.

“In the beginning, a lot of our staff were pretty anxious about working there,” shared Jody Woods, Environmental Services manager, Mercy Health Muskegon.

“When I went to thank Linda for volunteering, she said to me, ‘We’re going to do what we have to do, and it’s all about making sure our patients are taken care of.’ Linda is a direct example of an owner’s mind and a servant’s heart,” added Jody.

On the job for about a year, Linda is both a team leader and colleague trainer. When the ED needs additional help, other team members are willing to join her. She sets a great example and is a natural-born leader, said Jody.

“I thank Linda every day for the work she does,” said Sharon Stiff, Linda’s supervisor. “Linda is positive and compassionate — a role model for others. She is a Christian who brings her faith to work with her.”

The entire EVS staff serving our Mercy Health and SJMHS hospitals are true heroes working 24/7 to keep our patients and colleagues safe.

SMML’s Lori Marie Key Appears on Good Morning America to Discuss “Amazing Grace” Video

Robin Roberts interviews Lori Marie Key, RN on Good Morning America, April 13, 2020.

LIVONIA – Lori Marie Key, an RN at St. Mary Mercy Livonia, is making headlines for her stunning rendition of “Amazing Grace.” A video of Key singing at shift change to raise her colleagues’ spirits has gone viral, appearing on national networks and in an article in the Free Press.

This morning, Lori was interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America, speaking with host Robin Roberts. When asked how she and her colleagues were doing, Key replied, “These last few weeks have been challenging, but we just have to remember why we’re here and that is to be here for our patients, especially during this difficult time”

Key also described St. Mary Mercy Livonia’s religious roots, sharing that she often prays with patients. She stated that the hospital “tries to promote spiritual healing,” and that singing “Amazing Grace” was a natural extension of that.

Viewers were then treated to a live rendition of Key singing “Amazing Grace.” After the performance, Roberts informed Key that Good Morning America plans to send a meal from local restaurant Pita Pita to the night shift as a thank you for “feeding our souls.”

The full interview is available here. Thank you, Lori, for sharing your gift with our patients, colleagues, and the nation.

Parade of Lights Dazzle SJMAA Staff

More than 50 fire and rescue vehicles circled the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to demonstrate their support of the front line health care workers inside, on April 7, 2020.

More than 50 emergency vehicles including firetrucks, police and more provided an inspiring show of support and solidarity with the hard working colleagues of St. Joe’s Ann Arbor who enjoyed the parade. Many of the emergency crews offered their thanks and words of encouragement as they rolled through our campus. Many thanks to our security crew and all the department members who gave their time to brighten the night for so many.

Watch Video: Click here.
For a complete list of participating public safety departments, click here.

Red Cross Seeking Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients to Help Others

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The COVID crisis has everyone looking for opportunities to “make a difference” or “take control” or “help someone.”  For patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, one way to make an immediate impact is through Convalescent Plasma Donation.

The American Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 and may be able to donate plasma to help current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a health care provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients seriously ill with COVID-19. Historically, convalescent plasma has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. The Red Cross has been asked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of these products to hospitals treating patients in need.

If you’re fully recovered from a verified coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis, please go to www.redcrossblood.org  and click on “potential donor and fully recovered from COVID” to register.

The Red Cross website describes all of the safety precautions they have in place to assure that plasma donation is safe.

Life in Community Team Connects Vulnerable People to Resources During Pandemic

Woman using smartphone. The concept of using the phone is essential in everyday life.

OAKLAND – At St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, the Life in Community team is working tirelessly to reach out to the area’s most vulnerable in their time of need.

The chaplains, mission specialists, Faith Community nurses, and community health workers collaborate with the local health department and other hospital programs to call people who are involuntarily isolated.  This call list contains 1,700 people, with some in the hospital and some at home. These include former volunteers who can no longer come to the hospital, Senior Fit class attendees, cardiac rehab participants, patients and families of patients.

Referrals come daily for people in these circumstances. It is a remarkable telephone ministry offering spiritual care, emotional support, prayer, connection to resources and healing conversation.

These phone calls are making a real difference. Last week, a chaplain and mission colleague worked together to get an isolated community member the prescriptions he needed. The elderly person did not have transportation and was not confident taking the bus, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the team members were able to arrange for the prescription to be delivered.

Another weekly volunteer who is now isolated at home was running out of food. This volunteer usually eats at the hospital and relies on that for at least two daily meals. The Life in Community team arranged for food delivery for the volunteer.

The Life in Community team is working behind the scenes to continue to connect people to each other and the resources of daily life they need, including conversation, social connection, prayer, and love.

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