Sometimes the dispensers are hard to access or locate, or products are simply unavailable because the soap and paper supply has run out.

However, in the middle of a global pandemic, it is more important than ever that good habits are adhered to. So, despite the fact that staff have sore hands and are exhausted, traumatised and rushed off their feet, they still need to be motivated to wash or sanitise their hands thoroughly and frequently – and be given the wherewithal to do so.

Products such as mild soaps, soft hand towels and moisturisers will help to alleviate the problem of sore hands. For example, Tork Foam Soap comes in an Extra Mild version which is particularly kind to the hands, while Tork Xpress Extra Soft Multifold Hand Towels are soft, absorbent and gentle on the skin. Also, the provision of a fragrance- free conditioning cream such as Tork Non-perfumed Hand & Body Lotion will help to prevent chapping and soreness when used after hand washing.

Besides being skin-friendly, all hand hygiene products should be easy to use since this will facilitate the process for harassed healthcare workers. The dispenser for Tork Foam Soap has been designed to be particularly easy to use even for people with low hand strength, and the unit houses 2500 shots of soap which is more than twice the amount of an average liquid soap dispenser. This ensures that the unit will not run out when a hand wash is urgently needed.

The Tork PeakServe Continuous Hand Towel system also works well in the healthcare sector because the dispenser gives out a towel in just three seconds, helping to speed up hand drying. It holds up to 2100 towels at a time which means it is highly unlikely to run out during hectic shifts.

When hand washing is impractical or inconvenient, staff should be encouraged to sanitise their hands using an alcohol gel or hand rub. Again, dispensers for these products should be easy to locate and convenient to use wherever they are needed.

Tork has issued a guide to optimum sanitiser dispenser placement at hospital entrances, at nurses’ stations, in a single bed room and on a four-bed ward. Tork Alcohol Hand Sanitisers are available in dispensers for general use as well as in smaller formats that can be clipped to a patient’s bed or issued to a medical worker.

Providing user-friendly products that are always available when they are needed is vitally important, but more important still is that healthcare workers should be given the skills and knowhow they need to use those products correctly. In a recent survey of 1000 healthcare professionals commissioned by Tork it emerged that 40% were keen to receive enhanced hand hygiene training.

We at Essity now offer an app designed to help instil good hand hygiene habits into healthcare staff and to clarify those situations in which hand washing is vital. The Tork VR Clean Hands Training and Education app is free to download and uses virtual reality to provide realistic scenarios where hand washing needs to be carried out.

So, in other words, there are no shortcuts. In order to achieve good outcomes, healthcare institutions need to take a multi-layered approach and combine hand hygiene monitoring systems with optimal access to hand hygiene products, a higher level of training and constant reinforcement of the hand hygiene message. INFECTION CONTROL | 53

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