The importance of hand hygiene is ingrained in all of us from a young age. As health care professionals, it’s especially important for us to go above and beyond to prevent serious infections and keep our patients and associates safe. This year, LifeCare is making hand hygiene a priority company wide.
“We appreciate all the efforts made at the local level to drive hand hygiene but recognize the need to create that consistency across the organization,” says VP of Quality Management Lisa Sherman-Richardson. “While hand hygiene won’t control all disease transmission, it is one of the simplest, most effective ways to help prevent infections related to care, maximize patient safety and improve outcomes.”
The hand hygiene program is divided into three stages: education, monitoring and analysis. A toolkit is available to assist the quality and infection control team as they roll out hand hygiene and sustain the program at each facility. The program will be enforced by the above mentioned teams, but is everyone’s responsibility.
“Our hands are a main pathway of germ transmissions, which means hand hygiene should be a concern for everyone. In addition to our clinical staff, all associates who work in our facilities and have indirect contact with our patients – administration, Environmental Services, Business Development, etc. – need to practice proper hand hygiene,” says Sherman-Richardson.
With the responsibility falling on all of us to practice proper hand hygiene, it’s important to set an example and speak up. “The intent of this campaign is to improve hand hygiene until it becomes second nature, which requires behavior changes and an emphasis on consistent communication. Be your facility’s germ buster by continuing to talk about hand hygiene and reminding your coworkers the importance of it,” she says.
The success of the program is measured through daily observations. Each facility is expected to monitor and report patient interactions, hand sanitizer and soap consumption, facility–related illnesses, etc.
Consult with your facility’s director of quality management of infection control team to learn more about hand hygiene and how you can participate.