The challenges of improving hand hygiene practices in care homes
The challenges faced by care homes across the globe were considerable before the pandemic, which served to exacerbate the situation to a very high degree. The key activity when it comes to good infection prevention is effective hand washing – and achieving that all-important hand washing “reset” is proving to be a real challenge, according to a recent report on the Provider website.
The US Government Accountability Office, worryingly, reported that “…most nursing homes had infection control deficiencies before the COVID-19 pandemic and half had persistent problems”, wrote guest columnist Megan DiGiorgio, MSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC.
The importance of hand washing
Everything starts with the need for good hand washing practices says the report.
“Hand hygiene is the most foundational practice, yet perhaps the most difficult to improve. Nevertheless, hands are the most common mode of pathogen transmission.”
“Further, hand hygiene is an important indicator of the safety and quality of care delivered in any health care setting.” The evidence for this is provided by the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.
In the UK, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this year issued guidance for Infection prevention and control in care homes.
Section 2 How are people supported to use and access their environment safely? asks
“Where appropriate, how does the provider support people who use the service to understand basic infection control precautions they could follow, for example hand washing or respiratory and cough hygiene?”
The units can provide back-up support for existing hand washing facilities, can be used in rest areas for residents, or in reception hallways for visitors and staff.
Images (above) show Teal’s new CliniWash mobile handwash unit. Wheel it to anywhere it’s needed!
They are easy to use and as they can be placed at point of need are ideal for residents, who may have restricted mobility, allowing them to have access to warm water in their own rooms.