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UMF Nat’l Hygiene Specialist® Excellence Award-Nominations Open

UMF Corporation has announced that nominations are open for the 14th annual National Hygiene Specialist® Excellence Award, in a recent news release.

Nominations are open through Dec. 31, 2022.

The award acknowledges the environmental services (EVS) workers who play essential roles in reducing preventable healthcare associated infections (pHAIs). pHAIs are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Infecting 1 in 25 hospitalized patients annually, pHAIs put patients at risk, significantly increase the number of hospital days required, and add to healthcare costs. EVS staff are crucial when it comes to controlling pHAIs, which include superbugs such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and COVID-19.

“In the United States, infections acquired in healthcare facilities kill more than 75,000 people every year,” said UMF CEO George Clarke. “During the past several years, EVS teams have faced more challenging patient care, staffing shortages, new safety protocol training, burn-out, and a lack of recognition as frontline staff who play a critical role in support of first responders. While we established our National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award more than a decade ago, it has never been more important to acknowledge and celebrate these workers who serve as a first line of defense in preventing the spread of pHAIs.”

The CDC recommends that, to keep patients safe, healthcare facilities must maintain a clean environment and minimize the presence of pathogens. In particular, surfaces contaminated with bacteria and viruses create a biofilm which protects them from disinfectants. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces is fundamental to reducing pHAIs. Hygiene specialists, key members of the EVS department, lead the charge in ensuring safe patient care environments across all types of healthcare facilities.

Added Clarke, “Responsible for cleaning and disinfecting patient rooms, operating rooms, and common areas throughout hospitals, hygiene specialists are integral to enterprise-wide multimodal infection prevention and control. Yet many feel underappreciated and neglected in their own work environments. The National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award is an opportunity to recognize their critical contributions. As part of our commitment to recognizing and celebrating these front line workers, we’ve also introduced awards for residential cleaners, as well as commercial cleaners in education and hospitality.”

EVS managers are encouraged to nominate dedicated staff members. The award recipient will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two, including airfare, to anywhere in the 48 states. Nomination forms, available at https://bit.ly/3liHmmh, should be submitted by Dec. 31, 2022.