Protecting Patients from Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital patients expect high levels of cleanliness every time they enter a medical facility. This cleanliness, however, extends far beyond scrubbing down surfaces. New evidence suggests that as many as 1 in 25 U.S. hospital patients will contract an infection during their stay in a hospital. Studies show that these infections may be the result of lacklustre hospital cleanliness. The secret to preventing hospital acquired infections is to get back to our medical school basic cleanliness training routes. All too often, nurses and doctors get so bogged down with daily tasks, that hygiene can take at least a partial back seat.

Preventative Measures for Hospitals

It is important for all hospital staff to be focused on preventative cleanliness measures such as environmental cleaning to remove organic and inorganic compounds from hospital surfaces. However, preventative cleanliness measures do not stop with sterile surfaces. Surfaces that are touched by patients are some of the most at risk for contamination and infection, yet are sometimes most neglected. Hospital cleaning staff should be engaged in the same environmental cleaning habits that are common in laboratories. Organic and inorganic compounds on patient surfaces are among the biggest culprits in the fight against hospital acquired infections. It is important that all hospital staff begin to think of hospital cleanliness as not just a part of menial cleaning tasks, but as an actual part of patient care. Studies on patient experience suggest that hospital cleanliness plays a pivotal role in overall patient satisfaction, which in turn can lead to faster recovery times and a better overall experience. Patient experience is impacted by every interaction in a health care facility, whether these experiences are directly related to patient care. This is why a patient’s perception of cleanliness is so important.

Clean Hands Save Lives

One of the most effective hospital cleanliness campaigns to date this ‘Clean Hands Save Lives’ campaign. This outlines one of the most effective hospital cleanliness strategies in terms that both hospital staff and patients can understand. The ‘Clean Hands Save Lives’ Campaign not only impacts a patient’s perception of hospital cleanliness but acts as a subtle reminder to health care staff to wash their hands. This campaign has traveled the world over and now is an integral part of the fabric of health care culture.

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The Power to Protect Patients

We can see from ‘Clean Hands Save Lives’ that attempts to improve hospital cleanliness do not have to be fancy to be effective. Most often, improving the cleanliness of your hospital starts with simple reminders about often overlooked measures like surface sanitization and of course handwashing. These measures are proven not to just increase patient satisfaction, but to actually increase the amount of trust patients place in the healthcare professionals that serve them. At the end of the day, our duty as healthcare workers is to protect our patients, and the power to do so truly lies in our hands.

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