CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - July 21, 2015) - Laurie Darling, a member of the Environmental Service (ES) team at Heartland Health Care Center - Oakland located in Troy, MI, 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 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 said. "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 said that as a member of the facility's ES 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 said.
The Hygiene Specialist Award includes a one week vacation for two to South Beach, Florida.
According to Clarke of UMF Corporation, HAIs (healthcare-associated infections), 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 MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)," he said. "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 said.
Janet Wiggins, MCEH, President of IEHA, said, "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."
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) have been increasing for years and are now responsible for more than 260 deaths every day -- they are the sixth leading cause of death in the USA. Compared with H1N1 and Ebola worldwide, HAIs in this country alone affect ten times the number of people. There are many so-called "superbugs" that are responsible, including Clostridium difficile (C. difficile, C. diff). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports C. diff is at historic highs. The societal cost of this hidden epidemic has been estimated at more than $147 billion per year.
About UMF Corporation
Innovators and specialists in environmental hygiene, UMF Corporation delivers advanced, patented antimicrobial technology with industry-leading PerfectCLEAN® products, education, training, motivation and support. The company, headquartered in the Chicago area, is the only U.S. company that designs, engineers and manufactures high-performance fibers and accessories to help its customers meet tough new challenges in public health and safety. Visit http://www.perfectclean.com
IEHA is a 3,500-plus professional member organization for persons who direct cleaning, maintenance, housekeeping, groundskeeping, safety and/or indoor environmental programs in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities. The organization was founded in New York City in 1930, and is now located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of the State's capitol, Columbus. IEHA provides its members with an array of professional development, educational, certification and career opportunities. Visit http://www.ieha.org.
About HCR ManorCare
The HCR ManorCare health care family comprises centers that are leading providers of short-term, post-acute services and long-term care. Nearly 55,000 caregivers nationwide provide quality care for patients and residents through a network of more than 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, memory care communities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care agencies. These locations operate primarily under the respected Heartland, ManorCare Health Services and Arden Courts names. Visit http://www.hcr-manorcare.com.