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Award winner: an infection prevention hero
UMF Corporation has awarded Crystal Foster its 12th annual Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award, 2021. Crystal, who works at Beacon Hill - a senior living community in the Chicago suburbs - was nominated by Beacon Hill facilities director Emmanuel Griffin, who believes she exemplifies the key tenets of the award, which acknowledges the invaluable contribution of the unsung heroes staffing environmental services (EVS) departments in healthcare facilities across the US.
"Beacon Hill's number one priority is the health & safety of our residents and team members, and our EVS team plays an essential role," reports Emmanuel Griffin. "Our go-to person for second shift, Crystal makes herself available for every shift, and consistently volunteers to take on extra tasks. She is always on time and willing to stay late whenever needed. She not only cleans our community, but goes above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of our residents."
As the pandemic endures well into its second year, the world's focus on infection prevention remains heightened. In healthcare, this has elevated the role of the EVS departments that help prevent and reduce the spread of Covid-19. These departments are a first line of defence, providing safe environments in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They help stop the spread of Covid-19 and also help control and prevent healthcare-associated infections. Prior to Covid-19 - now the number one HCAI worldwide - HCAIs were responsible for, according to the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, approximately 2.8 million infections and an estimated 360,000+ deaths each year in nursing homes.
"As we close in on the end of year two of the global pandemic, UMF Corporation remains steadfast in its commitment to increasing awareness and recognition of the dedicated professionals who have served so bravely in the battle against Covid-19 and HCAIs," comments UMF CEO George Clarke.
"Many of these workers have become sick, lost loved ones to Covid-19, or are suffering burnout from several long years in the trenches. We are thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate Crystal Foster, who has not wavered in her commitment to serve the residents of Beacon Hill."
The CDC recommends compliance with environmental control measures, including regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces throughout healthcare facilities, to decrease the risk of infection among residents, patients and healthcare workers.
"The contributions of hygiene specialists and other EVS workers in providing a safe environment for residents and patients are so often overlooked," notes George Clarke.
"UMF is honoured to shine a spotlight on them. We look forward to continuing this important acknowledgement in the years to come. We encourage everyone to be sure to recognise and thank environmental services workers, housekeepers and custodians in healthcare facilities, hotels, schools, and beyond. A little recognition and gratitude go a long way."
As the 2021 award recipient, Crystal Foster will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two, including hotel and airfare, to a location of her choice within the 48 contiguous states.
6th January 2022