Patients don't wash their hands enough

8 October 2014

A new study has found that, while hospital visitors and staff regularly use sanitiser, patients themselves are not washing their hands enough to prevent infections.

The research, led by Dr Jocelyn Srigley, a McMaster University researcher, found that people staying in hospital often do not wash their hands frequently enough. According to the study, patients rinse their hands about 30 per cent of the time while in the washroom, 40 per cent during meal times, and only three per cent of the time when using the kitchens on their units. 

It also found that patients neglect to wash their hands when entering or leaving a hospital room, with about three per cent and seven per cent guilty of these mistakes respectively.

Published online in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, highlights the importance of encouraging patients to wash their hands to reduce hospital-based infections, according to principal investigator Dr Jocelyn Srigley, an assistant professor of medicine and the associate medical director for infection prevention and control at Hamilton Health Sciences.

She and her team examined 279 adult patients in three multi-organ transplant units of an acute care teaching hospital over an eight-month period. Using new electronic hand hygiene monitoring technology, they put sensors on all soap and sanitizer dispensers to determine patient behaviour.

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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