A recent study reports that medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. These statistics can change if the patient, and their family know what to do to help avoid medical injury.
This blog represents my experiences and my opinion only - often at the bedside. All posts are short enough for easy reading - therefore I couldn't possibly share all there is to share. Thank you for visiting.
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Monday, April 2, 2012
Washing Hands Can Make a Difference
Wash your hands before eating takes a whole new turn after
reading this article in LI Newsday.
A recent article in Long Island’s Newsday by Delthia Ricks
explains in detail the problems with the bacterial infection Clostridiumdifficile, also known as C. diff.This
bacterial infection, known to cause severe pain, diarrhea and high fever is a
serious problem in hospitals throughout the country.In 2009 there were 337,000 cases Ricks
reports in the article, more than doubling the number from the less than ten
The spores can live for months and can be spread if not
killed with bleach in a room where the spores might be living in a patient’s
room.To clean hands from the spores
soap and water must be used.The hand
sanitizers won’t do it.
So how does this change what we already know?As a patient safety educator I will let
people know that soap and water must be used when someone enters the room to
treat a patient. If you feel
uncomfortable asking someone to wash their hands, carry this article with you
and tape it to the patient’s wall.
When a family member
or friend visit – leave the flowers home and bring a container of Clorox
wipes.Grab some gloves and wipe down
the room.The tray table, bed rails,
door and door knob, TV remote, call bell and sink.
Wash your own hands repeatedly with soap and water and if
you touch anything wash again.Your
hands may be clean when you come in but anything you touch can be contaminated
which will start the process of contamination over again.
A recent discussion at a group training caused an outburst
by a woman when I suggested that unless hands are noticeably soiled,
antibacterial lotion can be used.She
was upset by this comment because her mother suffered from C. diff.Her knowledge on the subject made me and my
colleague Jeff, who has been offering these programs with me, to rethink how we
discuss infection prevention.If C. diff
is as big a problem as it is said to be then we have a right to insist on soap