Tag Archives: hand washing

Aug 3, 2017

Health care hygiene compliance: Not just for hands anymore?

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It’s time to add ‘and stethoscope hygiene’ to ‘practice hand hygiene’ signs

Stethoscope blog

Changing habits is hard. We can see the data, understand the science and even participate in a training session, yet we go back to doing it like we always did.

That is precisely what researchers observed and documented in a recently published quality improvement project on stethoscope hygiene. In the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), researchers found that healthcare providers rarely perform stethoscope hygiene between patient encounters, despite its importance for infection prevention. The authors call for the inclusion of stethoscope hygiene in all hand hygiene initiatives.

Infection prevention is a complex undertaking, and stethoscope hygiene is an important component. Here are a few simple tips from 3M™ Littmann® stethoscopes along with some hand hygiene essentials.

Stethoscope blog chart

Barriers to change may exist at several levels. Maybe there is a level of disbelief that stethoscopes get as contaminated as hands, despite what research shows. Maybe wiping stethoscopes is perceived as inconvenient or there’s concern that sanitizers and wipes will damage the stethoscope (Tip: All Littmann stethoscopes feature next-generation tubing with improved resistance to alcohol). Whatever the obstacles, let’s challenge ourselves to identify and overcome them. It’s essential to patient safety.

At 3M, we are committed to a future without preventable infections. As with hand hygiene, cleaning stethoscopes between patients should be expected in all health care settings and supported by leadership and clinicians alike. The future of infection prevention and superior patient care will be built upon a culture of compliance. Be a stethoscope hygiene champion in your facility!

 

May 5, 2016

Remember the importance of hand hygiene

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Hospital hand hygiene

Imagine your Mom gets sick and is admitted to the hospital. A healthcare provider arrives and starts checking her vitals. You notice they’re not wearing gloves and didn’t wash their hands. But you were afraid to ask. A month goes by and Mom takes a turn for the worse.  She’s back in the hospital, this time, she has a new infection. Out of the blue. Where did this come from? Was it from the healthcare provider who didn’t wash their hands? Could something as simple as using soap and water or hand sanitizer have prevented this? I wish I would’ve said something.

As everyone knows, hand hygiene is critical on a daily basis. Once a year on May 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiates a global campaign, Save Lives: Clean Your Hands day to engage healthcare facilities on the importance of hand hygiene. The WHO campaign supports the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare and the improvement of hand hygiene globally. Professor Didier Pittet, from WHO, stresses that washing hands saves lives. Watch his Adapt to Adopt video to see some creative ways on how facilities are focusing on hand hygiene improvements.

Are you following WHO’s recommendations for My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene?

  1. Before touching a patient.
  2. Before clean and aseptic procedures (eg. inserting devices such as catheters).
  3. After contact with body fluids.
  4. After touching a patient.
  5. After touching patient surroundings.

In support of WHO’s campaign, we want to help you drive proper hand hygiene compliance throughout your healthcare facility. Take time to review the on-demand educational opportunities below. The fight against infection is in your hands.

Getting Hand Hygiene to the Next Level Through Value Based Improvement in a Culture of Safety

Hand Antiseptics Formulation and Regulation…What’s Involved in Developing the Products You Use

Surgical Hand Antisepsis

Importance of a Clean Environment in Keeping Hands Clean

Leading the Way: Healthcare Facility Hygiene

Hand Hygiene in the Perioperative Setting-Reviewing the Recommended Practice

Nov 23, 2015

The Chain of Infection: A Patient Journey

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The Chain of Infection

Passing Thru the Gauntlet of Healthcare Associated Infections

Meet Mary J, an incoming patient. She’s been referred to your hospital because of its reputation as a state-of-the art facility and one that has minimized healthcare-associated infections – HAIs. Mary’s OB/GYN insisted that yours is the best hospital for her to have her surgery. What began as a persistent pain in her pelvic region has been diagnosed as ovarian cancer and a complete hysterectomy has been ordered. The life of this otherwise healthy, 46 year old mother and elementary school teacher has taken a dramatic turn. She must put her care in someone else’s hands, something she’s unaccustomed to doing. With her family and her students relying on her, the last thing Mary needs is to come through the procedure successfully but encounter an HAI. HAIs can be harbored in virtually any place Mary will be transiting.  According to a recent HAI prevalence survey1 administered by the CDC, 1 in 25 hospital patients in the US have experienced at least one HAI. Read how ready this facility is to mitigate and minimize the occurrence of HAIs in its commitment to patient safety.

Arrival – Let the Battle Begin

Hands, the most common source of pathogen transmission, are a critical battleground in the fight to reduce healthcare-associated infections so naturally they are at the center of the challenge. One challenge is that in order for any product to be effective, it would also need to be gentle enough to promote repeated and frequent use. In any hospital, an effective antiseptic hand solution should also be latex glove and Chlorhexidine Gluconate compatible. It should also be dye and fragrance-free and available in versatile and convenient point-of-care locations to promote compliance. Because your hospital has initiated a comprehensive hand hygiene policy using awareness training, products and tools that are effective against infection yet gentle on skin, Mary’s admission will be less of a risk. Your hospital has also incorporated appropriate environmental cleaning programs with detailed instructions to ensure consistent cleaning based on industry standards and best practices. Because of this, Mary’s chance to contract HAIs as she passes through the hallways and contacts various equipment is reduced. The OR has been cleaned and disinfected using a variety of cleaning products and tools including chemical management systems that mix disinfectants and other products in exacting quantities. Additionally, the Infection Preventionist and Environmental Services Manager routinely review a hygiene-management-system sampling plan to validate the cleaning process and address problem areas. In all areas where Mary will pass, particular attention is paid to disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Cleanliness is verified using a hygiene management and testing system that provides real-time results. The analysis confirms that environmental cleanliness is at or above the goal benchmark for frequently touched surfaces – where the risk of cross contamination tends to be the highest. In addition to physical testing, data-driven assessment tools also help provide facilities managers with the ability to track the cost of HAIs to their facilities and justify investments in infection prevention programs.

Pre-op – Even up Your Nose?

As Mary is prepped for her procedure, she is impressed and reassured to see that all personnel who come in contact with her sanitize their hands using an instant hand antiseptic. They are obviously well trained and sanitize their hands without a second thought. She changes into a forced-air warming gown which will keep her warm as she waits prior to surgery, as well as maintain a comfortable body temperature throughout her procedure. Her nurse administers the hospital pre-surgical cleansing policy, which includes nasal antiseptic applied to her intranasal cavity and even an oral rinse – no opportunity for an HAI is left to chance. Mary’s nurse explains that this routine will help minimize the bacteria in her nasal and oral passages, bacteria that could easily spread to her surgical wounds or her airway while she is on the breathing machine. Her skin is prepared for surgery using specially developed 2% chlorhexidine gluconate rinse-free cloths that address multidrug resistant organisms on the skin and are another layer of defense against surgical site infections. Mary is then transported into the operating room. Other members of the surgical team begin to arrive into the OR. The surgical assistant puts on a high fluid-resistant surgical mask, disinfects her hands with an antiseptic hand prep and then gowns up. All surgical tools are effectively monitored using chemical and biological indicators. These indicators serve as release criteria in the Central Sterile Supply Dept. (CSSD). CSSD places chemical indicators into each set before sterilization and then are checked prior to use in the OR to verify sterilization conditions have been met. This last step is adopted by the World Health Organization, Safe Surgeries Check List to indicate that sterilization conditions exist inside the set (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44186/2/9789241598590_eng_Checklist.pdf)

The indicators show a “pass”, which means they have met the parameters for sterilization and the instruments are ready. Just before she goes under anesthesia, as part of the patient monitoring process, pre-wired monitoring electrodes are placed on Mary and connected to her monitors. These electrodes use a gentle, conductive adhesive that is repositionable and won’t tear delicate tissues when removed. Mary’s IV  is inserted and secured using a transparent dressing so her IV can be monitored without removing the dressing and exposing the IV site to additional bacteria. Your hospital realizes the importance and cost saving benefits to using dressings that provide superior wear time, gentle removal, and excellent moisture management in the battle against HAIs.

In the OR Zone

While Mary’s forced-air warming gown is keeping her warm before surgery, another warming product will be used during her procedure – a full access underbody blanket. (Recent studies found that underbody blankets delivered significantly warmer patients than resistive warming devices or standard warming therapy).2-5 Maintaining normothermia helps reduce the risk of infections as well as the hospital length of stay. Warmed blood and fluids are also beneficial in an effort to maintain normothermia and they will be administered using a leading blood and fluid warming device. Once Mary is anesthetized, her skin previously clipped of hair, done in periop, is prepared for surgery using an iodine povacrylex and isopropyl alcohol surgical solution, which keeps bacteria counts below baseline for at least 48 hours. During this time, the rest of the surgical team disinfects their hands with an antiseptic hand prep. Mary is then draped using a surgical drape that has an antimicrobial incise film to create a sterile surface. This front-line barrier provides a sterile surface all the way to the wound edge, and provides continuous broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity to further reduce the risk of SSIs and HAIs. Before making any incision, the team conducts a “time out” to make sure they are doing the right operation on the right patient, have all of the appropriate instrumentation present and confirm that the correct pre-surgical protocols have been followed. The team also makes introductions and states the roles they have in the surgery, all part of your hospital’s head- to-toe patient safety attitude. Satisfied that all of the proper procedures have been followed, her gynecologic oncologist initiates the operation. After successfully removing her uterus, fallopian tubes, omentum and ovaries, fluid and tissue samples are collected and sent for testing. Mary’s skin incision is then closed using a disposable skin stapler. Closing the incision this way maintains wound edge apposition, allowing for appropriate edema to occur and facilitate proper healing. The final touch is dressing the incision. Your hospital stocks an all-in-one dressing that is highly conformable; one that flexes with movement and swelling and provides a better exchange of moisture vapor and oxygen to reduce skin maceration. The post-surgical dressing of choice protects the wound while absorbing drainage, all of which promotes healing and greater comfort. At last, Mary is transferred to the recovery room and then the ICU.

Post op Success and New Horizons

As the staff ushers Mary though recovery, a new set of pre-wired monitoring electrodes are placed on her and connected to the patient monitor. Oral care is started with an oral rinse (Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.12%). This process is done every four hours while Mary is in the Post Anesthesia Recover Unit, or PACU. Because the staff at your hospital had the right processes and products in place, from the surgical prep station to the sterilization room to the OR and onto the ICU, they helped reduce the risk of Mary walking away with a healthcare-associated infection. Why subject patients to needless risk of a HAI when risk can be mitigated?

References:

  1. CDC, Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs), HAI Prevalence Survey, 2011, http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/surveillance/
  2. Tominaga A., Koitabashi T., et al. Efficacy of an underbody forced-air warming blanket for the prevention of intraoperative hypothermia. Anesth. 2007;107:A91.
  3. Insler SR., et al. An evaluation of a full-access underbody forced-air warming system during near-normothermic, on-pump cardiac surgery. Anesth Analg. 2008. 106(3):746-750.
  4. Teodorczyk JE., et al. Effectiveness of an underbody forced-air blanket in preventing postoperative hypothermia after coronary artery bypass graft surgery with normothermic cardiopulmonary bypass.  Critical Care. 2009. 13(1):P71.
  5. Engelen S, et al. A Comparison of under-body forced-air and resistive heating during hypothermic bypass. ASA Abstract. 2010. A075.
  6. World Health Organization, Health care-associated infections FACT SHEET, http://www.who.int/gpsc/country_work/gpsc_ccisc_fact_sheet_en.pdf
Feb 9, 2015

5 Ways to Stay Healthy in Flu Season

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Help fight off the flu with effective hand-hygiene

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent influenza is to get an annual flu vaccination. However, you can also reduce your chances of getting sick by following these simple flu prevention tips.

1. Protect your immune system.

Keep your immune system strong and healthy during flu season by getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious meals, engaging in regular physical activity and drinking a sufficient amount of fluids.

2. Practice proper cough etiquette.

If you become ill, avoid spreading the illness by practicing proper cough etiquette. Each time you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to prevent the spread of germs. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow instead.

3. Practice good hand hygiene.

Frequent hand washing throughout the day is one of the best ways to keep harmful germs out of your body. Each time you wash your hands, scrub them for at least 20 seconds with lathered soap before rinsing. If no soap is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

4. Don’t touch your face.

Although proper hand hygiene can remove germs from your hands, it’s not practical to wash your hands every time you touch something. To prevent the spread of germs between washings, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth during flu season.

5. Avoid contact with sick people.

If possible, avoid close contact with anyone who is showing symptoms of the flu. If you must be in contact with someone who is sick, wash your hands carefully after touching the person or any of his or her belongings.

Flu season can be a dangerous time, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Following the tips above can help you reduce your chances of contracting or spreading the flu virus. To minimize risks as much as possible, consider 3M hand hygiene and mask products. For example, 3M’s Avagard hand antiseptics kill 99 percent of harmful bacteria on hands1.

  1. Data on file, 3M Health Care