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A HOLISTIC APPROACH


Chris Wakefield, Vice President of European Marketing & Product Development at GOJO


Industries-Europe, says a holistic approach to hand hygiene is required.


The implications of infection outbreaks, such as E. coli or norovirus, in healthcare settings are wide-ranging and potentially very serious. From putting the lives of patients already in vulnerable positions at risk, to the cost and disruption of services – including the enforced closure of hospital wards – they are something to be avoided.


An added complication is the growing number of infections displaying antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These AMR ‘superbugs’ are micro-organisms which have evolved to overcome the effects of antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics. Without effective antimicrobials, the success of major surgery and other treatments is threatened.


However, reducing the spread of AMR superbugs can appear problematic as antimicrobial resistant-microbes are almost universally present and they can spread easily between people and animals, and from person to person.


ESSENTIAL MEASURES The World Health Organization (WHO) says better hygiene and infection prevention measures are essential to limit the development and spread of AMR infections. With effective sanitation, hygiene and infection prevention measures – including good hand hygiene – the spread of superbugs can be prevented, along with the initial incidence of infection.


The WHO highlights hand hygiene as a core element to infection prevention and control programmes fighting the challenge of AMR. It recommends:


• An adequate number of appropriately positioned hand hygiene facilities should be readily available at the point of care.


• Hand hygiene products (for example, alcohol-based hand rubs, if available) should be easily accessible and as close as possible – within arm’s reach of where patient care or treatment is taking place.


• Point-of-care products should be accessible without having to leave the patient zone.


The correct choice and positioning of hand washing and sanitising solutions around a building, appropriate signage and awareness-raising campaigns all have a significant part to play in effective hand hygiene regimens.


Systems should be easy to use, widely accessible and come with pleasant and effective hygienically advanced formulations. Soap and sanitiser formulations need to have passed key hospital norms EN 1500, EN 14476 and EN 12791, to provide assurance that they are safe and effective for use in healthcare locations. In addition, as they (http://www.who.int/gpsc/ipc-components-guidelines/en)


50 | HEALTHCARE HYGIENE


“With effective sanitation, hygiene


and infection prevention measures – including good hand hygiene – the spread of superbugs can be prevented.”


will be used frequently, formulations need to be accessible throughout a facility and gentle on the skin.


Good aesthetics and innovative technology – such as touch-free dispensers – can also increase use. In addition, factory-sealed refills (where the soap or sanitiser is sealed at the point of manufacture to protect it from contamination) can help in the fight against infection, as they remove the possibility of cross contamination from the air or other sources.


A HOLISTIC APPROACH Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) increase costs and time, so improving hand hygiene performance is one way to both lower costs and improve patient safety. Unfortunately, although more than 80% of illnesses can be transmitted by the hands, research consistently shows that too many people don’t wash their hands after using the washroom. Even when they do wash, many don’t do so for long enough for it to be effective.


Combining the most advanced formulations and state-of- the-art dispensing systems with education, awareness and support is the best approach to help healthcare facilities in the fight to reduce the spread of infections.


www.gojo.com


(http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/preventing-infection/hand-hygiene twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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