First place awardee Jean Azor (right) is a floor care technician at St. Joseph's Hospitals in Tampa, Fla.
The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and Kimberly-Clark announce the recipients of the second annual Heart of Healthcare Awards, honoring outstanding frontline environmental services technicians who make a difference for patients and residents across all care settings. The award is a component of the Heart of Healthcare campaign developed by AHE and Kimberly-Clark Professional, which recognizes and elevates the critical role that frontline environmental services technicians play in the healthcare environment.
"AHE congratulates all of the Heart of Healthcare honorees for their dedication to patients and hospitals," said Patti Costello, executive director of AHE. "We were thrilled to receive triple the number of nominations for this year's Heart of Healthcare Awards. Engagement in this campaign is a reflection of a growing awareness of and appreciation for the integral role environmental services departments play in supporting a culture of quality outcomes and patient safety satisfaction."
Nominations were submitted by managers, supervisors, co-workers and members of other in-house departments in hospitals and long-term care facilities. A panel of AHE members reviewed all submissions and selected the winners.
First Place Awardee:
Jean Azor, floor care technician, St. Joseph's Hospitals, Tampa, Fla.
Jean Azor works in St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and in the Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital. In this role, Azor provides floor care services and ensures that patient rooms and high-touch objects are completely disinfected, helping to improve care for all patients at the hospital. In addition, Azor is vigilant in making sure that all caregivers in the unit follow proper personal protective equipment procedures.
While Azor's job description ends there, his role does not. With a lifelong desire to help others, Azor befriended a young cancer patient and supported him through months of chemotherapy, providing him comfort and distraction when he was sad or sick. Azor was recently recognized by the hospital board and administration as "team member of the month" for providing outstanding service and comfort to patients and was featured in a newspaper column about his friendship with the young patient.
"Jean never hesitates to help out when needed, and is exceptionally detailed and thorough with his cleaning, making him a key player in helping to prevent the spread of HAIs in our facility," says Doug Rothermel, director of environmental services at St. Joseph's Hospital. "He is also a leader among his peers and takes seriously his role in training new environmental services department team members. It is a pleasure to see Jean's achievements acknowledged by AHE and Kimberly-Clark, as he truly embodies the spirit of the Heart of Healthcare campaign."
- Annette Dejesus, housekeeping aide supervisor, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
- Tammi Ulrey, environmental services technician, Skiff Medical Center, Newton, Iowa
- Rosemarie Shifflett, environmental services attendant, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, Ohio
"We are excited to again team up with the Association for the Healthcare Environment to host the Heart of Healthcare Awards for the environmental services professionals who embrace the fundamentals of the program," says Richard Marriott, healthcare segment leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "Our hope is that the accomplishments of those recognized will inspire others to uphold infection prevention practices as a top priority, and that the healthcare community will have a deeper understanding, connection and appreciation for the role environmental services play in maintaining patient safety and satisfaction."
The nomination process for the 2013 Heart of Healthcare Awards will open in early 2014 at www.ahe.org. Nominees do not need to be AHE members to be nominated for the award.
AHE and Kimberly-Clark are working together to provide environmental services professionals with the necessary tools for their continued education, training and recognition to help their facilities support their goals of reducing HAIs.
The Heart of Healthcare campaign education and recognition tools provide vital support for best practices in cleaning and disinfecting the environment. To address the ever changing hospital environment, AHE and Kimberly-Clark added new tools, which are available through the AHE website. Most can be customized to include the logo of the healthcare facility utilizing the materials. The following materials are included:
- Cleaning and disinfecting guide, in English and in Spanish
- In-room cleaning checklist
- Patient discharge card
- Employee recognition certificate
- Checklist with handy references to cleaning and disinfecting patient rooms
- Environmental services recognition posters for public display
- Room calling cards indicating a patient room has been cleaned
For more information on the campaign, visit: www.ahe.org.