Throughout 2020, Kettering Health Network is on a mission to make Clean Hands Count.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 hospital patients acquire a health care-associated infection every day. What we do to practice excellent hand hygiene makes a big difference in keeping our patients safe. Here are five refresher tips all of us need to keep in mind about making clean hands count.
1. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is best practice for hand hygiene.
Compared with soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers work better at reducing bacterial counts on hands. Hand sanitizers are effective against multidrug-resistant organisms (MRSA). Although they don’t kill C. difficile, hand sanitizers are still considered best practice.
2. Washing your hands can be too much of a habit.
Think about how many times a day you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Are you covering the entire surface of your hand, front and back? Are you getting your fingertips, thumbs, and in between your fingers? When we clean our hands multiple times a day, it can be easy to miss certain areas.
3. Don’t skimp on how much product you use.
Hand hygiene is one area where it’s okay to use a little more product than you think you might need. You should be using enough hand sanitizer to cover all surfaces of your hands. Rub your hands together until they are dry. If you used the right amount, your hands should stay wet for about 20 seconds.
4. Gloves are important, but they’re no substitute.
Wearing gloves is best practice when caring for patients with C. difficile. However, dirty gloves can still soil your hands. Always clean your hands after removing gloves to protect both yourself and your patients from infection.
5. When in doubt, clean your hands more often.
Health care providers might need to wash their hands up to 100 times or more in a 12-hour shift. But the truth is that, on average, health care providers perform proper hand hygiene less than half of the amount of times that they should. When we don’t comply with excellent hand hygiene 100% of the time, we are putting ourselves and our patients at risk.
Stay tuned for more tips to make Clean Hands Count in 2020 and keep a special eye out in March for Patient Safety Week