Certification of environmental services technicians is shown to reduce infection rates and improve quality of patient care.
According to the results of a four-month study by the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE), facilities that have implemented Certified Health Care Environmental Services Technician (CHEST) program training experience a significant decrease in infection rates and increase in patient satisfaction.
Launched by the AHE in 2015, the primary objectives of the CHEST program are to achieve greater consistency in infection control practices, as well as to recognize technicians for their key role in preventing the spread of infection in hospitals.
Facilities participating in the AHE survey reported a decrease in several infection rates since the implementation of CHEST training, notably, a 3% decrease in Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates. Facilities surveyed also noted improvement in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. For example, the average number of patients who reported their bathroom was “always clean” increased from 69% to 79%.
The CHEST program trains front-line technicians in evidence-based protocols for cleaning, disinfection, linen handling, floor care and waste disposal, as well as proper safety procedures and efficient communication with hospital staff. By focusing on the use of standardized tools and techniques to remove microorganisms throughout hospital environments, CHEST certification training helps to break the chain of pathogen transference.