Did You Know …
- The cost of treating infections in Long Term Care facilities is an average of $1,100 to treat each resident or patient
- Infection treatment costs total more than $1.4 billion in the US each year
- Facilities risk losing their Medicaid and Medicare status as participating providers if they have uncorrected deficiencies – Hygiene and infection control-related violations are the most common
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that at least one third of all healthcare related infections can be prevented if proper hand hygiene protocols are implemented. Infections in Long Term Care facilities compromise residents and patients quality of life and are the leading cause of death among patients.
In the “Guidelines for Hand Hygiene for Heathcare Settings”, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthcare facilities must permanently change hand washing practices to improve adherence with recommended hand hygiene protocols. It is also recommended that healthcare and long term care facilities should implement hand hygiene education and compliance programs in order to overcome obstacles with their hand hygiene protocols.
The following is suggested for implementing these protocols:
- Provide a written statement regarding the value of and institutional support for adherence to recommended hand hygiene practices and programs
- Implement methods to accurately measure hand hygiene behaviors and infection rates within facilities
- Observe individual workers to assess hand hygiene regimens and recommend proper hand washing procedures to maintain compliance
- Provide on-going feedback to healthcare workers regarding infection rates and hand hygiene compliance issues
- Place sanctions on employees for failure to comply with hand hygiene practices and programs
Selecting Hand Hygiene Products:
- Select hand hygiene products that take product efficacy and skin compatibility into consideration for healthcare workers
- Conduct a survey with workers regarding the feel, fragrance, and skin tolerance before purchasing hand hygiene products into recommended practices and programs
Hand Hygiene Product Types and Availability:
- Determine if alcohol based and antimicrobial hand hygiene products are available to all healthcare workers
- Determine placement locations, i.e., resident and patient rooms, hallways, medicine carts for product dispensing
Healthcare Worker and Patient Education:
- Require healthcare workers to participate in ongoing education programs focused on the practices and techniques of proper hand hygiene
- Educate healthcare workers on the five moments of hand hygiene to prevent infection transmission Display and post reminders throughout the facility to motivate workers to use approved hand hygiene practices
- Encourage visitors, patients and residents to participate in improving hand hygiene by reminding healthcare workers to wash and decontaminate their hands
Remember…Although there are initial costs associated implementing the CDC’s hand hygiene recommendations, the initial investment is easily offset by the savings that result in preventing infections and saving lives in Long Term Care and Healthcare facilities.
Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at the Betco Corporation. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys running, cycling and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly.