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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 30, 2014

Housekeeper for the Day: Staff learn about infection prevention

By Ashley Durk

Housekeeper for a day
Stamatina Stamadianos teaches Sean Schurr how to change linen.

Sean Schurr’s morning started off with a twist; the twist of a mop that is. The Director of AboutKidsHealth traded in his usual business attire for a pair of scrubs as he participated in the Housekeeper for the Day event on Oct. 30.

“AboutKidsHealth is in a different building and although we work very closely with care teams, it’s usually at the end of an email,” says Schurr. “I thought Housekeeper for the Day was a great opportunity to see patient care firsthand.”

Staff members were partnered with a Patient Service Aide (PSA) to participate in a typical training day. The one-day housekeepers learned the ins and outs of maintaining a sterile hospital unit. Schurr found himself cleaning rooms, changing sharp bins, delivering meal trays, and his favourite part of the day: interacting with patients and families.

“I’ve learned very quickly that patient care is extremely choreographed,” says Schurr, who worked with Stamatina Stamadianos, PSA, 6A. “You have to be on your toes in order to follow the right procedures. I thought it would include cleaning and interacting with point-of-care staff, but I’m learning a whole new trade.”

Housekeeper for the Day was introduced at SickKids in 2011, shortly after Laurie Streitenberger, Senior Manager Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), heard about the concept at a conference. The purpose of the original initiative was to teach IPAC team members at SickKids how to clean equipment. She and Tony Alberga, Housekeeping Services Manager at SickKids, took it to the next level.

“Everyone in the hospital needs to know the importance of the environment’s role in infection prevention,” says Streitenberger. “I wanted to share that information with staff.”

The SickKids initiative is now a Leading Practice with Accreditation Canada.

The half-day program ended with a debriefing where participants shared their positive experiences. As for Schurr’s potential future as a PSA, Stamadianos says he is always welcome back to 6A.

“Sean is amazing,” she says. “I wish he could come here every day!”

Housekeeper for the Day is held during Canadian Patient Safety Week which runs Oct. 27-31 this year.