It’s hard to believe the number of posters, lectures, threats, and gimmicks that are produced each year just to get healthcare professionals to clean their hands.
Why, oh why won’t caring nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and others who tend to our medical care clean their hands as often as they should?
We know there are some who prevent infections by keeping their hands clean throughout the day. Thank you for that. This discussion isn’t about your habits, but the poor habits of some of your colleagues.
Common excuses for not cleaning hands are no time, no sinks around when you need them, patient care is more important than hand hygiene, can’t find soap and/or paper towels, simply forgot, or don’t agree with the recommendations.
CDC says that “Studies show that some healthcare providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Healthcare providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care.”
That breaks down to cleaning your hands eight times an hour on average, or once every 7.5 minutes. Of course, that number varies depending on your duties during a shift.
No matter what the precise number, we can all agree that healthcare professionals need to clean their hands a lot while at work.
On the one hand, it seems that such repetition would form strong habits. But on the other hand, if repetition isn’t there, if hands aren’t cleaned every single time a patient’s room is entered and every single time one is finished with a patient, habits won’t be acquired.
Acquire the habit. Please.
by Trish Parnell