Hand Hygiene Not Enough To Combat HAIs
The 2018 Interclean show had an extra emphasis on healthcare cleaning. Hall 9 was dedicated to infection prevention with booths showcasing healthcare market products, a designated healthcare seminar area and the Healthcare CleaningLAB, which demonstrated products in a mock patient room and operating theater. In addition, the Healthcare Cleaning Forum co-located with Interclean on May 16 to provide even more education about this critical cleaning market.
In the United States, 4 percent of all patients contract a healthcare acquired infection. The rate is higher in European countries and significantly higher in underdeveloped countries.
Hospitals promote adhering to WHO's five moments of hand hygiene, but studies show that this is not enough to prevent infections. One study found that there is equal frequency of MRSA when healthcare workers touch the patient as when they touch surfaces near the patient. So, even if hospital staff practice hand hygiene (and no hospital has 100 percent compliance rate), there will still be frequent cross contamination from infected surfaces.
The average patient receives 82 visits a day from staff and family. This allows for plenty of opportunities for infection, even if people are practicing hand hygiene. For example, this much interaction leads to a bed rail being touched 256 times a day, or 16 to 20 times per waking hour. In the United States, this surface is only disinfected once per day. And, studies show that two hours after disinfecting, the bed rail is just as contaminated as before cleaning.
To truly make a difference in combating HAIs, hospital staff and patients both need to practice hand hygiene. Improving hand hygiene compliance will have the greatest impact in reducing infection rates. However, this is not enough. Surfaces near the patient need more frequent disinfecting as well. It's costly, but cleaning staffs need to visit patient rooms multiple times a day. In addition, disinfecting wipes should be made available in the room for hospital staff, family members and even the patient to use on surfaces.
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