In a healthcare environment, a simple hand hygiene oversight can have consequences that spiral outwards in costly and dangerous ways. As indicated by this World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care, a single MRSA infection via catheter (with the hands as a likely culprit as the source of contamination) can cost a whopping $38,000 to control. It can also incur significant ancillary costs. Providers have to dedicate resources to preventable infections that could be used helping other patients. Offices may have to reschedule and shuffle patients, which takes time and money. And there's the PR element – a hospital-acquired infection isn't the kind of experience a patient will recommend to a friend.
So, in a medical environment, no one can afford to let hand hygiene compliance slide.
But as easy as being hand hygiene compliant can be, it's easy to forget the specifics. So the following tips will get you up to date on the most current, scientifically-verified protocols for keeping your office's helping hands from being a vector for hazardous microbes.
Hand Sanitizer is Useful, if …
Occasional media coverage (and misinformation) has raised questions in the public mind about the usefulness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The official word from the CDC, however, is that hand sanitizers are safe and worthwhile – if you don't have an opportunity to wash your hands the old-fashioned way.
So using soap and water is better, but don't turn down the hand sanitizer if it's the only thing on-hand. Just remember to:
•Make sure that the product you're using is at least 60 percent alcohol;
•Follow the product instructions;
•Keep in mind it might be ineffective if your hands are greasy, visibly dirty or contaminated with chemicals.
How (And More Importantly, When) to Wash Your Hands
Using soap and water is the best medicine for killing germs, and 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous scrubbing should do the trick (provided the water isn't scalding– that can harm your hands).
But knowing when to wash your hands is the real key in preventing the spread of infection. Providers should wash their hands before:
•Having contact with a patient's skin;
•Contact with a patient's skin, bodily fluids, wound dressings, etc.;
•Touching objects in the vicinity of a patient;
•Moving from touching an infected site to a clean site on a patient;
•And (of course) using the restroom.
Why We Love Gloves (and You Should, Too)
There's a good reason why wearing gloves is standard practice for any industry that demands a meticulously sanitary environment. Proper glove use is a reliable method of preventing the spread of infection. And at a healthcare provider that's a top priority for everyone.
Like hand washing, gloves are only effective in conjunction with proper hand hygiene compliant protocol. So keep in mind that you need to:
•Wear the right-sized gloves;
- •Wear gloves any time you might come into contact with a surgical site, patient's bodily fluids, etc.;
- •Wear each pair only once to prevent cross-contamination.
Finally, remember that wearing gloves does not replace washing your hands.
Any number of scenarios can allow microbes on unwashed hands to find their way to a sterile surface, and you can contaminate your clean hands when removing dirty gloves.
Clean Gloves, Clean Hands, Safe Patients
Each product line of our gloves is made specifically for a range of clinical needs and comfort preferences. So using the right Ventyv™ gloves for the right environment – with clean hands – can drastically reduce the threat of picking up dangerous germs and putting them down where they don't belong.
This mitigates the high cost of hospital acquired infections and – more importantly – may help keep patients safe and happy.
So be hand hygiene compliant with Ventyv™ hand protection products – and subscribe to our blog for more information and insights into hand hygiene – the topic that touches everything in the healthcare world.Read More