Brian Waligora, CEO of Surfaceskins, gives us five simple tips to improve hand hygiene in a healthcare environment.

Fresh off World Hand Hygiene Day, I ask myself why do so few people follow the basic hygiene techniques that we were taught as children?


We all know we should wash our hands before we eat, after we sneeze or after we use the toilet, but many of us don’t bother to follow these simple rules. In this fast-paced world, are we all simply too busy to wash our hands?

For anyone working to provide cleaning services within a healthcare environment, hand hygiene should be top of our agenda. With this in mind, here are five simple ways to help boost hand hygiene compliance in your workplace:


MAKE IT EASY Ensure there are plenty of gel

dispensers in toilet areas and in places where food is served or prepared such as canteens and kitchens. Make sure you have soap available at any sinks and facilitate an easy way to dry hands, such as disposable towels or a hand dryer. Communal towels aren’t hygienic and could put some people off from washing their hands.


PROVIDE AND CARRY TISSUES Research shows only one in

three people clean their hands after they sneeze or cough into them. By providing cleaning staff with tissues, and having them placed within easy access in the healthcare facility, there’s more chance people will use these to catch germs instead of their hands.


EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE Holding workshops or seminars

for your cleaning staff on the benefits of optimising hand hygiene will work wonders as the reality is, shaming people into compliance is a powerful tool. No one will want to admit to being in the group of people who don’t wash


their hands after going to the toilet – which can be up to 95% according to some studies. Then you can sit back and watch compliance improve as people do all they can to avoid falling into the wrong group.


MEASURE Measuring compliance is a


powerful incentive for staff as they will understand the link to improved hand hygiene, so inform your cleaning staff members that you’re monitoring soap consumption and/ or gel usage. Indeed, according to the World Health Organisation, monitoring hand hygiene compliance is crucially important to help give you feedback regarding defective practices and even provide data for any outbreaks. Some innovative

electronic systems exist which provide the automatic monitoring of hand hygiene compliance and collect data very effectively.



Boosting awareness of hand hygiene, promoting hand washing and the use of hand gels in a healthcare environment are all powerful factors in improving compliance. But it could be time to look at introducing other technical measures to complement these practices. Disruptive and game-changing products are being manufactured that could provide a key weapon in the battle against the spread of infection; whether it’s flu or other healthcare microbes such as MRSA.

Surfaceskins replace normal push plates (a frequently touched area that can harbour bacteria) and secrete a tiny amount of anti-bacterial gel when touched to go through the door. The anti-bacterial gel kills any bacteria that you may have deposited and kills any bacteria that you may have picked up from a standard door.

The truth is up to 80% of infections are transmitted by hands; as soon as you touch a door, you risk becoming contaminated from the people who have used the door recently. Breaking this cycle is pivotal in terms of infection control as washing your hands only provides you with a certain amount of protection if you then touch a contaminated door.

So by boosting hand washing practices and introducing technology such as Surfaceskins to your healthcare facility, you’ll be going a long way towards boosting overall hand hygiene and cutting infection rates dramatically.

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