Current Issues in Hand Hygiene
Hand hygiene is one of the essential measures to avoid the transmission of harmful pathogens and a highly considered effective way of preventing infections. Most microorganisms that cause serious illnesses are spread through hands. However, most health facilities’ hand hygiene rate is extremely low, thus contributing to infections that affect most patients in a given healthcare facility. To address these issues, healthcare settings can incorporate various hand hygiene measures to improve hygiene practices among clinicians and minimize outbreaks in hospitals.
One of the measures to employ is prioritizing hand-cleaning for both patients and clinicians. For healthcare workers, it is essential to ensure that they keep their nails short and avoid wearing artificial nails. This mechanism would be an effective strategy for ensuring that pathogenic organisms do not find a place to hide. Research has shown that the area beneath the fingernails is the habitat for hand bacteria (Hillier, 2020). Some of the bacteria that develop around this body part are yeast and Corynebacteria. As such, healthcare practitioners should wash their hands, rub them for at least 15 minutes, and dry them using a paper towel (Hillier, 2020). Healthcare providers can also apply hand lotions to minimize hand-related infections such as skin rash.
Additionally, before attending to any patient, healthcare providers should ensure that they wash their hands even when they are not visibly dirty. If hand washing is not applicable, healthcare providers should use gloves when attending to patients, although they do not provide adequate protection against hand contamination. Gloves may contain small undetected holes through which some harmful microorganisms can penetrate.
Another way hand hygiene can be improved among healthcare providers is by making hand washing a game. This activity can be made interesting by encouraging physicians to calculate the number of soaps and sanitizers they have used in a week (Boyce, 2019). In this regard, they multiply the number of times they should wash their hands and the amount of soap or detergent used. After making this calculation, they should look at their records and determine the amount of soap they have ordered and used. With the help of this game, there is the likelihood that the majority of healthcare providers would meet their expectations and consider improving their hand washing strategies.
Further, hand hygiene can be provided by ensuring that healthcare staff is familiar with CDC guidelines, including proper hand hygiene techniques, skincare, and the selection of hand hygiene agents (Sands & Aunger, 2020). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention launched a campaign that would enable patients to notify healthcare providers of the need to wash their hands. To ensure that patients do not feel as if they are burdening healthcare providers, anonymous feedback cards co be utilized by ensuring that they complete them at the end of the visit. Healthcare providers can also let patients know when they are washing their hands.
Every patient is at the risk of contracting infections while being treated for a particular disorder. Similarly, healthcare providers are at the risk of contracting diseases when handling different patients. With this in mind, there is a need to ensure that the spread of these germs is prevented by adopting specific hand hygiene measures such as making hand hygiene a priority, making hand-washing a game, and understanding the CDC guidelines concerning hand hygiene.
Boyce, J. M. (2019). Current issues in hand hygiene. American Journal of Infection Control, 47, A46-A52.
Hillier, M. D. (2020). Using effective hand hygiene practice to prevent and control infection. Nursing Stand, 35(5), 45-50. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11552
Sands, M., & Aunger, R. (2020). Determinants of hand hygiene compliance among nurses in US hospitals: A formative research study. Plos One, 15(4).