I stopped at the gas station the other day for gas and a "pit stop.". When I walked into the bathroom, I saw a father and his son who was around 5 years old. The father turned to the son and told him to wash his hands. The son then turned t the father and said, but Dad, you NEVER wash your hands after you go to he bathroom." The father, clearly embarrassed, looked over to me and then back at his son and said, "I always wash my hands." His son repeated "No you don't Dad. I never see you wash your hands." The father then made sure they both washed their hands as he said to his son, "let's hurry because others are waiting to wash their hands."
So many of us see this - when others are watching, the percentage of people washing their hands probably goes up. It should be 100% and in hospitals it should definitely be 100% given the probablity of spreading infections without washing. This is something we audit in the hospital.
I was browsing the website, www.infectioncontroltoday.com. It stated:
In the healthcare setting, handwashing is often cited as the primary weapon in the infection control arsenal. The purpose of handwashing in the healthcare setting is microbial reduction in an effort to decrease the risk of nosocomial infections.
Hand hygiene can also be a problem in busy health centers and clinics where patients are seen both in increasing numbers and treated in rapid succession.1 Prevention and control of infectious activities are designed to limit the spread of infection and provide a safe environment for all patients, regardless of the setting.2 In light of the emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms, effective infection control measures, such as handwashing, are essential to prevention.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year an alarming 2,400,000+ nosocomial infections occur in the US alone. They are estimated to cause directly 30,000 deaths and contribute to another 70,000 deaths each year. Nosocomial infections cost over $2,300 per incident and $4.5 billion annually in extended care and treatment.
This is not new news but it still is a major issue. If you are in our hospital or any healthcare organization, you have the right to ensure that those treating you are washing their hands before and after they enter your room. That could be with soap and water, the antibacterial foam soap or other similar products. If you do not see this take place, you could and should ask that provider if they washed their hands before entering the room.
Just like the boy and his father, sometimes people need that gentle or not so gentle reminder to do so.
Enjoy your weekend.