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The Dirty Truth of Hand Hygiene

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Posted by Kimberlee Aubrey RN

Hand Hygiene  Readiness Rounds

We know that pathogens causing Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are most frequently spread between patients on the hands of healthcare workers (HCWs). (1)

The Cost of Hand Hygiene | Readiness Rounds

One in 25 hospital patients will encounter a Healthcare Associated Infection and of those, 1 in 9 will die. This equates to approximately 200 preventable deaths per day in the United States' healthcare system. (2)

Hospital patients who acquire infections typically require lengthy inpatient stays, are more likely to be admitted to critical care units, are much more likely to be readmitted, and at an increased risk of death. (3)

The human cost alone should be reason enough for a swift call to action!

Who is paying for their treatment?

With multiple studies showing that US hospital healthcare workers perform hand hygiene less than 50% of the time when they should, what is the economic impact to hospitals? (4)

According to the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ estimates, preventable HAIs cost between $28 and $40 billion per year! (5)

With such significant human and economic loss at stake, why are we, as an industry, tolerating such lackadaisical adherence to a simple process as impactful as hand hygiene? 

We have all read numerous studies telling us that the problem is highly complex and takes a complicated multimodal approach to improve, but at the end of the day, this is a process that takes less than 4% of our caregiving time, is convenient and easy to perform, and has measurable, significant positive impact on our patient outcomes. (6)

We've helped many clients greatly improve their HAIs and readmission rates by implementing more proactive tools to their hand hygiene program. Contact us here if you'd like to discuss similar tools for your facility.


Sources 

1) http://www.who.int/gpsc/tools/faqs/evidence_hand_hygiene/en/

2) http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0326-hospital-patients.html

3) http://www.patientcarelink.org/Improving-Patient-Care/HospitalAcquired-Infections-HAI.aspx

4) http://www.researchgate.net/publication/24245179_Hand_Hygiene_Compliance_Rates_in_U.S.__A_One-Year_Multicenter_Collaborative_Using_ProductVolume_Usage_Measurement_and_Feedback

5) https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/Surveillance/HAI/infections.htm

6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249958/

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Topics: Hand Hygiene, Patient Safety & Clinical Quality, Healthcare Associated Infections

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