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The world thinks about hand hygiene in May
May 5 is world hand hygiene day and Interlake-Eastern RHA’s infection prevention and control (IP&C) team is asking regional residents to partner with staff in making health care facilities a safer place for patients, staff and visitors by performing hand hygiene upon entry to and exit from health care facilities.

Recent audits of public use of hand sanitizers when entering or leaving four target RHA facilities identified that less than one per cent of members from the public who walk through the doors adhere to the healthy habit of cleaning their hands upon entry and exit. According to manager of education and IP&C, Davenna Conrod, the IP&C team is working to encourage improvements.

“These public hand hygiene observations we completed help to identify where we can place hand hygiene reminders and offer easy access to hand sanitizer stations. We’ll be making some changes in the four facilities we monitored to see if we can increase people’s adherence to hand hygiene,” Conrod said.

If the changes are effective in getting more people to clean their hands, they will be introduced into other facilities across the region.

“Hand hygiene contributes significantly to reducing the spread of infection in health care facilities. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals clean their hands before providing care. Housekeepers clean door knobs, railings and other frequently touched areas to decrease the risk of germs being spread. Staff members clean equipment before re-use on other patients. We know this helps to keep people safe,” Conrod said.

In order to help keep patients, residents, staff and other community members safe in health care facilities, the IP&C team requests people use alcohol based hand sanitizer, provided on the walls at entrances to facilities, or wash with soap and water in the nearest bathroom. Hand cleaning should be performed when entering or leaving a health care facility, when visiting a friend or family member or providing care, before eating, after the using the washroom, after nose blowing, coughing and sneezing and when hands are visibility soiled.

“We’re all partners when it comes to helping reduce the spread of infection in our health care facilities,” Conrod said. “Hand cleaning also benefits the health of people who practice it regularly.”
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