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Clean hands have never mattered more

If healthcare provider hands could talk, they would tell you that:

  1. They can offer hope, healing, and comfort    

  2. Then can create, protect, and defend   

  3. They can also be the route of transmission for pathogens.1   

  • 80% of hospital staff who dressed wounds infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carried the organism on their hands for up to three hours!   

  • 60% of hospital staff, within 1/2 hour of contact with patients with Clostridium difficile infection, were contaminated without even having touched the patient, from merely returning drug charts to the ends of beds!   

  • In an ICU study, 40% of all patient-nurse interactions resulted in the same species of Klebsiella pneumoniae transmission to healthcare workers' hands, lasting up to 150 minutes, even with contact as slight as touching a patient's shoulder!   

  • Meanwhile, washing with soap and water virtually eradicated these organisms!   

With your help, they can also make a difference by:  

  • building hand hygiene into simple routines, such as when you use aseptic techniques when starting IVs or inserting catheters     

  • practicing spontaneous, automatic hand hygiene activities when entering and leaving the clinical setting   

  • modelling optimal hand hygiene activities to peers and in the home to your family members  

Before you touch anything: before you touch your face, your pen, your coffee cup, a patient, a family member, a hand rail, or an object in the patient's environment... 

STOP!  Clean Your Hands!

1 Stone, S.P.  J of the Royal Soc. Medicine. 2001; 94(6): 278-281.  Reprinted by Mitka, M. in the Journal of the American Medical Association November 3, 2009. 302(17).