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Handwashing In Healthcare Essay

Let's kick off 2014 by taking a nostalgic look back at some of the most contagious hand hygiene articles of the past 12-months.  Of the 57 articles published in this blog in 2013, here are the top 10 ranked in popularity by number of views.

10.  Vomiting Larry Teaches Us About Norovirus

The robot’s name may be fanciful, but the task it’s tackling is quite serious. Vomiting Larry, a humanoid simulated vomiting system is teaching us how infectious norovirus spreads.  Watch the video to see Larry in action.

9. Better Hand Washing as First Line of Defense Against the Flu

Even though effective hand hygiene is a critical part of flu prevention, the sad reality is that many people do not wash adequately or frequently enough.  Check out these 6 easy steps and watch the recommended video demonstrating proper technique.

8. One in Five People Don't Wash Their Hands

Fecal matter including bacteria such as E. coli can be found on just over a quarter of our hands.  In recognition of Global Hand Washing Day (October 15th), this article demonstrated just how important hand washing is and the surprising level of contamination that can be found on everyday objects.

7.  Why Hospital Infection Rates Continue to Climb Despite Improved Hand Hygiene?


This article would win the vote for fan favorite and generated the most amount of discussion amongst these top 10.  The 'Easter Ham Story' encouraged us to stop and start asking the right questions, so we can close the growing gap between high healthcare infection rates despite high reported rates of hand hygiene.


6. Hand Hygiene in Hospitals Has Gone Too Far


Have healthcare workers run amok wearing gloves and could this actually be harmful.  Another highly debated article which explores the balance between patient care and infection prevention from a physicians' perspective.


5.  Paper Towels or Hot Air Dryers - Which is Better & Why?


We all know 80% of common infectious diseases are spread by our hands and effective hand washing remains our best defense - but what about hand drying? Are all methods created equal?    This article put the hygienic efficacy of different drying methods to the test and generated a lot of debate in the process.

4.  Are Women Better Than Men When it Comes to Hand Washing Practices?


The restroom hand washing behaviors of 3,739 people were unobtrusively watched and documented.  Though hand washing compliance rates appeared to have increased in recent years, this report demonstrated we continue to fall short of the ideal - especially amongst men.  Leave it up to the ladies to show us how it's done. 

Now we get to the Top 3 hand hygiene blog articles in 2013 based on number of views.  Two of the three expose the level of contamination on items we touch every day and the other teaches us the best hand hygiene method depending on risks being encountered.


3. Your Mobile Phone is Dirtier Than Your Think

Ever wonder what objects are actually cleaner than your phone? Surprisingly, toilet seats make the list because they're usually sanitized often. Watch the video to see how an average cell phone's bacterial count stacks up compared to other household items and learn about new guidelines for electronic devices in healthcare settings.

2.  Bacteria and Viruses at Work

Did you know that every 60 seconds, a working adult touches as many as 30 objects which may be contaminated by bacteria or viruses causing infectious disease?  According to one recent workplace microbial survey, "desk top surfaces, computer keyboards, mouse and telephone receivers are more contaminated than restroom toilet seats."  Environmental microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona, shares his tips on keeping your office clean and hygienic.

And now, for the Top hand hygiene blog article in 2013 based on number of views.  Written by Barry Michaels, a regular guest contributor with over 40 years experience in the field of infectious disease investigation control and prevention.  It's a very common question we get all the time, especially around flu season and in relation to infectious disease outbreaks such as C. diff in healthcare.


1. Hand Washing or Hand Sanitizer. Which is Better and Why?


Hand sanitizers and soaps are put to the test and we learn there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to control and prevention of diseases.   Barry teaches us that human pathogens exist in "multidimensional continuums in terms of survival, chemical resistance to antimicrobial compounds and efficacy of hand washing etc."  To get the very most out of hand hygiene,  you have to do a quick analysis of risks being encountered at that particular moment and clearly understand the right protocols, especially in healthcare settings.


Hopefully you enjoyed this quick look back and we all look forward to a hand hygiene revolution in 2014.  A special thanks to all our contributors and subscribers for helping to make hand hygiene so contagious!


About Patrick Boshell

Patrick Boshell is the Marketing Director for Deb Canada and the managing editor for Deb Group's Hand Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Food Safety blog.  He's been actively involved in the Canadian commercialization of several Deb innovations includingOptidose InstantFOAM Hand Sanitizer for healthcare and GrittyFOAM Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner for manufacturing and industrial applications.  


Patrick is responsible for many of the most popular articles featured in this blog and is an advocate for making hand hygiene contagious in the workplace.  He is a social media enthusiast using tools such as LinkedIN and Twitter to help educate the importance of effective hand hygiene and skin care to a global audience.  To connect with Patrick, please contact him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

Hand Hygiene Essay



According to Marquis and Huston (2009, p.69), "Ethics is described as a system of moral conduct and principles that guide a person's action in regard to right and wrong and in regard to oneself and society at large." For this quality and safety "Workarounds" ethical paper, hand hygiene policy for Mercy General Hospital will be evaluated and how the practice is implemented in the clinical setting.

In conformity with Mercy General Hospital's policy on hand hygiene, (2006, p.2) "hand washing has been recognized as the single most important measure for preventing of healthcare-associated infections." In order to practice ethics and patient safety, health care professionals cannot do workarounds on hand hygiene.

Part 1 (A)

Hand hygiene refers to antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub, or surgical hand antisepsis (Mercy General Hospital, 2006). Guidelines indicate clinical staff should wash their hands with plain soap or antimicrobial soap and water when: hands are visibly dirty or contaminated with transient microorganisms or with blood or other body fluids, before eating, after using the bathroom, and after caring for patients with clostridium difficile (Mercy General Hospital).

For routinely decontaminating hands that are not visibly soiled the hospital recommends using an alcohol-based rub (Mercy General Hospital, 2006). Indications: Immediately before direct contact with patients, immediately before donning gloves when inserting a central intravascular catheter, immediately before inserting indwelling urinary catheters, peripheral vascular catheters, or other invasive devices, after direct contact with a patient's skin, after contact with body fluids; mucus membranes, non-intact skin, and wound dressings if hands are not visibly soiled. Hand hygiene is also needed when moving from a contaminated body site to a clean body site during patient care, after contact with inanimate objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient, and after removing gloves (Mercy General Hospital).

When washing hands with soap and water first get hands wet with warm water, then apply a dime-sized amount of soap to palm of hand after rubbing hands together and covering all surfaces of hands and fingers for 15 seconds, rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel (Mercy General Hospital, 2006).

The policy also reviews surgical hand antisepsis and skin care products, and other aspects of hand hygiene. For instance; clinical staff cannot wear artificial fingernails or extenders when having direct contact with patients, clinical staff must keep nail tips clean and less than ¼...

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