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Hand Hygiene in Hospitals Increases with Patient Involvement

Involving patients in the hand hygiene initiatives is not a new practice. Indeed, Thomas Sandora, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, spoke with Contagion® and provided recommendations on discussing hand hygiene amongst healthcare providers and between patients and healthcare workers.

Because of the initiative, hand hygiene at Ruby Memorial Hospital rose from 48% in 2015, to 75% in 2016. Speaking on these findings in the press release, Dr. Lastinger remarked, “48% is pretty standard, [and] so 75% is phenomenal.” She elaborated, “Based on the results of this study, patient empowerment appears to be an effective strategy to facilitate healthcare workers’ adherence to hand hygiene, but acceptance of the PET by providers remains a challenge. Barriers to hand hygiene adherence among healthcare providers should be identified and addressed.”

Linda Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, FAPIC, 2017 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) president, added, “Patient involvement is increasingly recognized as an important component of hand hygiene improvement strategies. Organizations must realize that patients and families are an important part of the healthcare team, and their involvement in hand hygiene campaigns should be encouraged.”

A graphic on health provider hand hygiene was provided with the press release:

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