UMF Corporation Names Recipient of First Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award

Janet Altman (center) receives the Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award from her supervisor, Eula Needham and George Clarke, CEO of UMF Corporation.

UMF Corporation, a leader in developing high-performance infection prevention products for the healthcare and hospitality markets, announces that Janet Altman, a hygiene specialist at Benewah Community Hospital in St. Maries, Idaho, is the recipient of the first annual Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award.

The award is part of the companys new Hygiene Specialist program focused on training, education and ongoing reinforcement of infection prevention best practices for environmental services and infection prevention professionals.

Nominated by her environmental services manager, Eula Needham, Altman was honored for her outstanding skills and diligent efforts at maintaining the hospitals hygiene standards to help prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Altman has been working at Benewah Community Hospital in St. Maries, Idaho for 17 years and was named a lead housekeeper in 2010. In addition to the recognition, Altman received a weeks vacation to South Beach, Fla. She was selected from nominees across the country.

"Janet is always willing to help with quality improvement and continuously looks for ways to meet patient needs and gain a better understanding of their concerns. She has excellent work skills and motivates others. As a team player, Janet routinely steps up when were short-staffed," says Needham. "She is goal-oriented and embraces new programs and initiatives with a positive attitude. This award is well-deserved."

"We believe that housekeepers are the first line of defense in preventing HAIs and providing a safe patient environment. Reducing the risk of HAIs isnt about one job classification or one department; its an effort that must involve everyone," says George Clarke, UMF Corporation CEO. "Through her actions and dedication, Janet Altman has made Benewah Community Hospital a safer place. Were pleased and proud to recognize her as our first award recipient. Through this award and the Hygiene Specialist program, we hope to elevate awareness and remind all involved of the importance of incorporating environmental hygiene best practices into their facilities."

Designed to raise the bar on providing a safe patient environment and reduce HAIs, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UMFs Hygiene Specialist program reinforces the critical need to combine environmental and hand hygiene programs. The program also stresses infection prevention as an organizational priority. The Hygiene Specialist Program includes training components such as best practices for effective infection prevention, in-service education and effective hygiene management in patient rooms and all other areas of the hospital.

"Preventing HAIs is critical to the health of patients and the financial health of the hospital," Clarke adds. "Most facilities focus on the result of HAIs rather than addressing one of the primary sources -- environmental surfaces. Implementing a hand hygiene program, spending significant dollars on hand sanitizer and disposable gloves is of little value if the first surface touched by the caregiver is contaminated. This program provides motivational tools and opportunities for environmental services staff to help them focus on providing a cleaner, safer patient environment."