Healthcare providers from acute care, primary care, surgery centers and more have a duty and responsibility to protect their patients through the practice of hand hygiene. Patients are at risk of getting an infection while being treated for something else. Healthcare-associated infections affect about one in 31 hospital patients. Healthcare providers are also at risk of getting infections while treating patients.
Preventing the spread of germs through hand hygiene and hand washing is important in all healthcare settings, especially in hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and more. Good hand hygiene is a simple, easy and effective way to prevent the spread of illness and infection. The entire continuum of care benefits from the practice of hand hygiene.
Some studies show that healthcare providers don't practice hand hygiene as often as they should. Healthcare providers should wash their hands more often than others, sometimes as much as 100 washes within a 12-hour shift. This number depends largely on the number of patients as well as the intensity of care. It's important for healthcare professionals to practice exemplary hand hygiene to protect their patients, as well as themselves.
Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce germs, but what if you don't have access to soap and water? Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands. When used properly, hand sanitizer can be an effective step in your hand hygiene routine in the healthcare setting.
Hand Hygiene Reminders
Hand hygiene opportunities occur, sometimes multiple times, during a single appointment. Below are some instances where healthcare providers should use an alcohol-based sanitizer:
- Before touching a patient
- After touching a patient
- After contact with blood, bodily fluids or shared surfaces
Below are some reminders of when a healthcare providers should opt to use soap and water to sanitize hands:
- When arriving at work
- When hands are visibly dirty
- When caring for a patient with a known or suspected infection
- When leaving work
Gloves should be worn when healthcare providers can anticipate contact with blood or other pathogenic bodily fluids. However, gloves are not a substitute for hand hygiene. Perform hand hygiene before putting on gloves and immediately after removing them. Gloves should always be worn only once and extra care should be taken in their removal to best prevent hand contamination.
In addition to hand hygiene, there are other steps healthcare providers can take to protect their patients, themselves and other staff members. Healthcare spaces need to be equipped with proper infection control items including hand hygiene supplies, for healthcare workers and patients, as well as antiseptics, replaceable covers and protective single-use products.
Sanitization products help eliminate germs on shared surfaces, keyboards, door knobs, counter tops and more. In addition to hand sanitizer, face masks are also good to recommend to patients who visit a hospital or healthcare environment with a respiratory infection. Masks help decrease the spread of germs as they create a barrier from aerosolized exposure from coughing, sneezing and even simply exhaling. Keep these reminders and suggestions in mind as summer comes to an end and you prepare for back to school season.
Concordance Healthcare Solutions is committed to working with key suppliers to support healthcare providers in their fight against germs. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your product and supply needs.