Hand Washing, Other Practices Prevent Infections

The other day my five-year-old daughter caught me.

“Daddy, you didn’t wash your hands,” she exclaimed gleefully. “Why do I have to wash my hands? You didn’t wash your hands!”

Sometimes we all forget.

In a hospital, however, it’s important to wash your hands when you go into a patient’s room and again when you leave. Good hand hygiene can help prevent infections, and ultimately that can save lives.

In a recent Health Affairs article, researchers from the University of North Carolina and elsewhere reported that “improving practices of hand hygiene, oral care, and central-line catheter care reduced hospital-acquired infections, and improved mortality rates among children admitted to a large pediatric intensive care unit in 2007–09.”

In that one pediatric ICU, better hand washing and the other changes resulted in patients spending an average of 2.3 fewer days in the hospital, and more than a 2 percent decline in the patient death rate compared to the same ICU before the changes.

“Used on a larger scale, these quality improvements could save lives and reduce costs for patients, hospitals and payers around the country,” the researchers concluded.

At Jefferson, quality improvement efforts address these and other areas of patient care.

This year the Hospital has ratcheted up efforts with our “Wash ‘Em” video to encourage better hand hygiene compliance.

I like the video so much I showed it to my kids. They love it and I guess it paid off since my oldest is now checking my hand hygiene compliance.

If you want to show “Wash ‘Em” to your colleagues – or your kids – it is available on Jefferson’s YouTube channel.

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  1. Help Us Prevent Infections, It Saves Lives! | @Jeff - Keep In Touch with Jefferson University Hospitals | Serving Philadelphia, PA, NJ & the Delaware Valley - October 21, 2013

    […] key step in doing so is hand hygiene. That’s right hand washing – just like your mom and grandmom told you – is critical. So all week the Hand Hygiene Caravan […]

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