Elevating the role of the cleaning and disinfecting process in healthcare
The PerfectCLEAN® Hygiene Specialist® In-Service Training Program is a value-added service provided by UMF Corporation to its healthcare customers. It’s a continuing-education training program for the members of a healthcare facility’s Environmental Services (ES) team. Participants in the program learn best practices for effective infection prevention and hygiene management in the operating room (OR), patient room and all other areas of a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare facility.
This popular program was developed more than a decade ago by UMF Corporation in recognition of the science of cleaning and disinfecting that ES performs – both the clinical function of removing and inactivating/killing HAI-producing microbes, and a practical function of cleaning. When combined, this process can play a significant role in public health and safety.
Once an individual has gone through the program, he or she receives a Hygiene Specialist® certificate signifying their accomplishment. Also, every year, UMF Corporation names a recipient of its Hygiene Specialist® Excellence award (see below). The award, in its seventh year, acknowledges the important contribution of ES departments – the first line of defense – in healthcare facilities across the country.
Hygiene Specialist® training includes (but is not limited to) learning:
UMF Corporation has expanded its Operating Room Processing Training Program (OR-PTP) for the Hygiene Specialist to include its series of processing checklists and high performance, color-coded OR-Hygiene products. The checklists cover: OR Pre-First Procedure Processing, OR Between Procedure Processing, OR 24-Hour Idle Processing, and OR Terminal Processing.
Hospitals that have incorporated Hygiene Specialist® training into their multimodal intervention strategies have recorded significant results.
One Kentucky hospital noted a significant reduction in HAIs after providing its ES staff with Hygiene Specialist® training. Likewise, a Chicago-area hospital was able to decrease its C. difficile rates by more than 50 percent, well below the national average; and significantly improve its national HCAHPS percentile ranking for patient satisfaction with room cleanliness.
UMF Corporation is keenly aware of the human factor in preventing infections. In many U.S. hospitals today, cleaning is considered healthcare’s lowest-tech activity, carried out by a group of invisible employees at the bottom of the hospital hierarchy. But that’s not the case in hospitals where ES staff has mastered Hygiene Specialist® training.
This becomes readily apparent on the emotional day participants receive their Hygiene Specialist® certificates and pins, usually in a ceremony attended by senior management. In the best healthcare settings, C-suites are beginning to grasp the difference a Hygiene Specialist®-trained ES staff member can make not only in the lives of patients, but also in a hospital’s reputation and its financial health.
In these ceremonies, increased self-esteem, recognition and acknowledgement all come together at once. And it lasts, as Hygiene Specialists go about their workday in the presence of hospital staff and patients.
In some instances, the Hygiene Specialist® will even go so far as to engage patients in a conversation about their role in patient safety – letting them know they are there to clean and disinfect, that they will use separate COLOR-CODED wipers and flat mops for the patient room and the bathroom, and only use them in that room – to prevent the spread of bacteria and eliminate cross-contamination.
Proudly, they actually tell the patient how the cleaning is protecting him or her, thereby changing the perception of the cleaning and the sense of room cleanliness.
“I’m here to provide you with a safe patient environment!”
The Hygiene Specialist® Excellence award was established by UMF Corporation to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the unsung hero’s staffing ES departments across the country – the first line of defense – providing safe environments in hospitals and long-term care facilities, according to George Clarke, CEO of UMF Corporation.
The Hygiene Specialist® award includes a one-week vacation for two to South Beach, Florida. (Make a nomination here.)
Previous Hygiene Specialist® Excellence award recipients include:
2010 Janet Altman, Benewah Community Hospital in St. Maries, Idaho
2013 Zinoviy Gunyak, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Chicago
2014 Laurie Darling, Heartland Health Care Center – Oakland located in Troy, MI
2015 Sharon Jones,Northwest Indiana’s Methodist Hospitals, Gary Campus