UMF Corporation announced that Crystal Foster, with Beacon Hill, a senior living community in the Chicago suburbs, has received the company's 12th annual Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award.
Foster was nominated by Beacon Hill Facilities Director Emmanuel Griffin, Foster 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 country.
"Beacon Hill's number one priority is the health and safety of our residents and team members, and our EVS team plays an essential role," said Griffin. "Our go-to person for second shift, Crystal has made 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 COVID 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 defense, 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 (HAIs). Prior to COVID-19, now the number one HAI worldwide, HAIs were responsible for, according to the CDC, approximately 2.8 million infections and an estimated 360,000+ deaths each year in nursing homes.
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.
As this year's award recipient, Ms. 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.