Patients Need Clean Hands

As we ring in 2015, we have much to look forward to in the New Year. But as 2014 came to an end, it also gave us time to pause and reflect.

I received news recently that my friend’s father passed away from a hospitalacquired infection. She said having a Fitsi at his bedside might have prevented his infection.

Now I realize that it will never be known if having a Fitsi would have prevented this hospital acquired infection (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus better known as MRSA), but obviously my friend feels her dad’s care was substandard.

It’s embarrassing that patients being admitted to a hospital would actually die from poor hygiene in the place they came to be healed.

And that perception is a major problem for hospitals. Patients and their families are looking critically at the care given in hospitals. Cleanliness is expected. Hand hygiene is promoted everywhere – grocery stores, offices, restaurants and airports all emphasize and provide for easy access to hand hygiene. Billboards remind us to wash our hands in public restrooms and doctors offices. Hospital employees are monitored for their hand hygiene. Yet, somehow, we forget that patients should also be provided easy access to hand hygiene. It’s embarrassing that patients being admitted to be treated would actual die from poor hygiene in the place they came to be healed. Healing and cleanliness go together, however, this unfortunately is not the reality.

Florence Nightingale would not be pleased to witness the issues around cleanliness and proper hygiene standards in hospitals – 150 years after she established how important cleanliness is to decreasing infections. Patients expect to have clean hands. Families and friends expect their loved ones to be kept clean. Let’s give them the care they expect and deserve in 2015!

To your Health!

Kathy, RN