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How Safe Are Our Hands?

DebMed
February 19, 2019

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When people think of hospitals, the words ‘clean’ or ‘sterile’ often come to mind, but according to research[1][2][3], words like ‘pathogens’ and ‘superbugs’ would be more appropriate.

 

Over the years, various studies have sought to determine the bacterial contamination of hospital objects frequently touched by patients, visitors and healthcare workers, as well as the potential for cross contamination from these “high-touch” surfaces.

 

Items such as biometric attendance devices, door handles, railings, telephones, door plates and water coolers were tested, and in every single study, bacterial contamination was discovered. Based on these results, one can conclude there is a need for improved hand hygiene among healthcare workers, and more frequent cleaning/disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.

 

So, what is a healthcare facility to do? The first step should be to implement an ongoing hand hygiene awareness campaign to remind patients, visitors and workers about the importance of handwashing after simple, every day actions, like riding the elevator or opening a door.

 

For patients and visitors, this could include something as easy as positioning hand sanitizer stations in convenient locations around the hospital, including at the top and bottom of escalators, outside of elevators, inside doorways and in waiting rooms.

 

But hand hygiene awareness campaigns among healthcare staff are a slightly different matter as healthcare workers should already be aware of the dangers of infrequent handwashing. The issue in this case becomes improving compliance.

 

To improve hand hygiene compliance in your healthcare facility, consider the following strategies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(13)00004-7/fulltext

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4676153/

[3] https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(09)00447-2/abstract

 

 

 

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