“Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands , a million deaths a year could be prevented… (CDC, 2013)” Studies have shown that hand washing may be the single most important act to help stop the spread of infection. Hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. A lot of diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and water. sometimes clean running water may not be available, so use soap and the available water or hand sanitizer.
Though sand sanitizers may help they may not eliminate all germs and may not be effective when there is visible dirt. Hands should be washed before and after procedures, preparing food, eating, caring for the sick, using the restroom, changing diapers , blowing the nose, coughing and sneezing . People should be taught the right way to wash hands, after touching animal waste or handling pets. By simply hand washing the government can save not only lives but money, that can go to improve people’s lives.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides healthcare workers and patients with a variety of resources including guidelines for providers , patient empowerment materials , latest technology advances and educational tools (CDC, 2002). The findings have changed my nursing practice in that if I have to be a good advocate for my patients I have to educate them on life saving habits.
During admissions to the hospital patients are encouraged to wash their hands and to report if or refuse care if they notice a healthcare worker not wash their hands. the staff cannot reason with the patients , we have teams of investigators who watch staff go in and out of patients rooms . Sometimes they take pictures in “got you in a good act,” it is only the hands that are taken so people are conscious of this health habit that saves lives. The WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare are a thorough review of evidence on hand hygiene in healthcare to improve practices and reduce transmissions of pathogenic microorganisms to patients and healthcare workers (CDC, 2009).
Through research there are findings about factors that influence compliance or adherence to hand hygiene practices. Some of these are hand washing agents causing irritation and dryness, sinks being inconveniently located or shortage of the same, lack of supplies, too busy or insufficient time, overcrowding, patients needs take priority, wearing
gloves /beliefs that glove use replaces the need for hand hygiene, additional perceived ideas to appropriate hand hygiene and so many more (CDC, 2002).
Research examines these factors to provide guidelines through evidence based research, and better ways to help the public and healthcare workers adhere to life saving practice. At my hospital we have two pumps one for the sanitizer and lotion based sanitizer to encourage staff and patients to sanitize without the fear of irritation.