Hand Washing And Proper Cleaning Supplies To Use
Handwashing is defined as a vigorous, brief rubbing together of all surfaces of lathered hands, followed by rinsing under a stream of water.
Although various products are available, hand washing can be classified simply by whether plain soap or detergents or anti-microbial-containing products are used.
Handwashing with plain soaps or detergents (in bar, granule, leaflet or liquid form) suspends micro-organisms.
In addition, hand washing with anti-microbial-containing products kills or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms; this process is often referred to as chemical removal of micro-organisms.
Infections - How Handwashing Helps In the Hospital environment, as well as any other Health Care Facility, bacteria are a major concern.
By themselves and left alone, they pose no real threat.
However, when certain bacteria that have the potential to cause disease (pathogenic), meet a susceptible human host (hospital patient), there then exists a golden opportunity for disease (infection) to result.
When this process takes place, it is referred to as a Hospital Acquired Infection, also known as nosocomial infection.
The ramifications of these infections are many.
First and most important, the patient is placed at increased health risk.
They must try to heal from whatever was wrong causing their hospital stay, and they must now fight and overcome an infection.
They are exposed to additional drug therapies (antibiotics) and the length of their stay in the hospital can be increased dramatically.
All of these additional needs increase the cost of health care.
With this explanation, the key point is that bacteria, if unable to contact the patient, can't cause an infection.
In the hospital environment, we have infection control departments.
Their goal is to take all necessary steps needed to separate patients from germs.
These germs may be from another patients in the hospital with a communicable disease or another type of infection.
Bacteria could also come from medical staff personnel that are ill and are shedding organisms as a result of their illness.
The environment is also a concern.
This is why we use powerful disinfectant detergents to clean surfaces in an attempt to keep them as free from bacteria as possible.
The common denominator of all these factors is that germs must get to the patient.
They cannot do that on their own.
Someone or something must transport the organism to the patient.
The most common method of transport is the human hand.
The hands of medical personnel are constantly touching objects that can be sources of bacteria.
The germs picked up on the hands are then transported and possibly re-deposited to a patient that may be very susceptible to an infection due to their weakened condition.
The primary defense available to the health care industry is the simple, yet often neglected act of handwashing.
By using water, a little soap and vigorous friction for 10-15 seconds, we can almost eliminate the organisms on the hands that put patients at such terrible risk.
As you read this, you may ask "So what's the Big Deal - you go to the sink and wash your hands.
" On the surface, it looks easy, but what you must realize is that handwashing, if done when required, will be performed 30, 40 to 50 times per day - day after day.
Anytime a procedure of any type is performed so often, it is very easy for complacency to set in.
The other contributing problem is that handwashing, by it's nature, is drying to the skin, causes rashes and allergic reactions.
All of these combined contribute to reduced handwashing compliance and potentially increased infections.