I hope that you have had an opportunity of looking at the recent survey conducted by Kimberly-Clark concerning hand hygiene. According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections.
The survey indicated that:
- Patients do not ask about hand hygiene. Only 5% of the respondents always ask doctors or staff in hospitals if they have washed were sanitized their hands prior to beginning an exam or procedure.
- There is a low awareness of risk. Among Americans who do not ask healthcare professionals about hand hygiene, 40% said they did not ask because they assume healthcare professionals perform hand hygiene before treating any patient. 34% said they simply don’t think about asking about hand hygiene and 21% said they do not feel it is their responsibility. However, only 30% did not ask because they witnessed their hospital healthcare provider washing or sanitizing their hands.
- Older patients are more hesitant to ask.
- Patients are not offered education such as pamphlets or literature outlining proper hand washing techniques.
I have personally experienced the devastating effects of hospital acquired infections. Because of my personal experience I always ask if a healthcare worker has wash their hands or used alcohol gel prior to touching me.
What about you? As a clinician, when you are personally being examined or having a procedure performed, do you ask about hand hygiene?
We welcome your comments.