UMF Corporation Names Winner of 2014 National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award

Laurie Darling, a member of the environmental services (EVS) team at Heartland Health Care Center - Oakland located in Troy, Mich., has been named the 2014 recipient of the Hygiene Specialist® Excellence Award sponsored by UMF Corporation.

Now in its fifth year, the award is facilitated in collaboration with the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), a professional education and certification organization for facility management professionals. It was established by UMF Corporation to acknowledge the important contribution of the ES departments -- the first line of defense -- in hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country.

Heartland Health Care Center - Oakland is part of Toledo, Ohio-based HCR ManorCare, a leading provider of short-term, post-acute services and long-term care. This is the first year someone from a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center has been named a recipient of the Hygiene Specialist Excellence award, according to George Clarke, UMF Corporation's CEO.

Jeannie Miles, director of environmental services at Heartland Health Care Center - Oakland, nominated Darling for the Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award. A committee of industry leaders selected Darling after a review of nominees.

"Laurie Darling does everything right all of the time with the greatest attention to detail," Miles says. "That sounds simple enough but the upshot of her actions is dramatic and has impact. She sets the example not only for the team, but for all of us."

Miles says that as a member of the facility's EVS team, Darling has participated in a Hygiene Specialist in-Service training program that includes learning best practices for effective infection prevention, in-service education and effective hygiene management in patient rooms and all other areas of the Oakland facility.

"Her knowledge of and commitment to infection prevention and safety are extraordinary," Miles adds.

The Hygiene Specialist Award includes a one week vacation for two to South Beach, Fla.

According to Clarke, healthcare-associated infections (HAI), though mostly preventable, can occur in all types of patient-care settings, including nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. "For example, one very recent report that studied the frequency of transmission between healthcare workers and residents has noted that as many as one in four nursing home residents is a carrier of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus," he says. "Enlightened management at facilities like Heartland has recognized the importance of ES as part of an enterprise-wide multimodal intervention plan to combat these infections.

"Laurie Darling and all the other dedicated ES individuals -- Hygiene Specialists just like her -- have been called 'the secret weapon' in reducing and preventing HAIs in the healthcare setting and providing a safe environment -- clearly, these special individuals are invaluable and deserve recognition," Clarke says.

Janet Wiggins, MCEH, president of IEHA, says, "The efforts of so many hard-working cleaning professionals in the healthcare profession go unnoticed. We're thrilled to participate in such a great program that provides some much deserved recognition to these individuals."

Source: UMF Corporation

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