Importance Of Hand Hygiene

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In January of this year, The Joint Commission released it 's 2016 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs). Seven goals to help improve patient safety were released with the intent of identifying problems involving safety in the health care setting and how to resolve them. Among the seven goals was to prevent infection. The Joint Commission noted that millions of people each year acquire nosocomial infections while in health care settings, and therefore it is a patient safety issue that crosses all types of health care settings. They listed the number one way to address nosocomial infections as improving compliance of hand hygiene in health care staff (NPSGs p. 8). Proper hand hygiene is the most simple, effective way to reduce nosocomial infections …show more content…
Ensuring that nursing students receive adequate training on current hand hygiene protocols, and ongoing education for current nursing staff is key. Hand hygiene includes four techniques as listed by Fundamentals of Nursing. These include “hand washing, antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub, and surgical hand asepsis (Potter & Perry 458). Students are taught to wash their hands under certain guidelines such as when hands are visibly dirty, when hands are exposed to certain spore-forming organisms like C. difficile, and during certain situations such as before, during and after patient contact (Potter & Perry 458). While foundational education is important, ongoing education is even more so. Ongoing staff training is necessary, however in one healthcare setting it was found that none of the staff had attended ongoing education regarding infection control. Furthermore, 32% of practices visited were found to not have ongoing training in infection control for their staff. “This means that the staff did not have access to the most up to date information and guidance with regards to infection control procedures, which would help them maintain a safe and clean environment” (Infection Control). Ultimately, nurses are responsible for the providing a safe, hygienic environment for their patients, and while foundational education is important, there must be ongoing training for all staff, not just …show more content…
Applying strict protocols for contact, droplet, airborne, and isolation precautions in place limits the spread of nosocomial infections. Gloves, masks, and gowns should be available to every person on staff in a healthcare setting, not just the nurses. Agencies at the federal and state level, as well as accredited healthcare organizations require an infection control specialist. This is “a person or persons [who are] designated as infections control officer or officers to develop and implement policies governing control of infections and communicable diseases” (Bryant, et. al. p. 374). This infection control specialist is responsible for implementing and maintaining an infection control program. Their job is to ensure that there is adequate materials available for their particular healthcare setting, proper training, consistent ongoing education for staff, and responsible for “identifying, reporting, investigating, and controlling infections and communicable diseases” (Bryant et. al. p. 375). Having and infection control specialist, many of whom are nurses, in place to ensure proper hand hygiene protocol, and ensure that the necessary resources ares available has been shown lower the incidence of nosocomial infections in healthcare settings (Bryant et. al. p.

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