“Handwashing isn’t just a big deal in healthcare” states Chief Nursing Officer

A MediWash mobile hand washing unit being used in a hospital

The compelling case for washing hands with soap and water

“Cleanliness and a caring hand to hold make a huge difference in patient outcomes” wrote the Chief Nursing Officer of the Odessa Regional Medical Center. Hand washing is deemed to be the “first step” of this process in a recent article on the OA Online website

The article’s author, Carol A. Cates, MSN, MBA, RN begins her train of thought with WW1 nurses in Britain – a scene-setter for the importance of nursing – its essence as it were. Photographs taken during the Great War that she obtained, clearly demonstrate how much nursing has changed in all those intervening years.

And of course, hand washing is the foundation stone of the article. From Florence Nightingale, described as the “mother of modern nursing”, who based her theories on the work that Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis carried out in the 1840s, through to the modern day, effective hand hygiene has remained hugely important. In fact it has perhaps become more important than ever.

“Handwashing isn’t just a big deal in healthcare, handwashing makes a huge difference for everyone when it comes to disease prevention.”

Why hand washing is so important

The report puts a very strong case for the importance of properly carried out hand washing at important times. Cates quotes some chilling statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after first pointing out that the two biggest killers of young children around the world are “diarrheal disease and pneumonia”, which is hugely disappointing on the grounds that hand washing hugely reduces the risk of both.

The figures quoted from the CDC are, quite frankly, shocking.

“1.8 million kids under 5 die each year from those two conditions. 1/3 of the diarrhea cases, and 1/5 of the pneumonia cases in kids under 5 could be prevented with handwashing with soap and water after using the toilet.”

A significant contributing factor to this, says the article, is the lack of hand washing that actually takes place, which quotes a worldwide average of hand washing interventions after going to the toilet at a meagre 19%.

The report continues with advice and techniques for the seven steps of “properly” washing hands and then when they should be washed – such as when hands are visibly soiled, after toilet use, after coughing or sneezing, touching animals and especially before eating.

Carol A. Cates concludes her article with some good advice for patients at medical facilities that are equally applicable to residents in care home settings.

“If you are in a health care setting, it is perfectly okay to ask your caregiver if they have washed their hands. I highly encourage you to do so. Because that hand you may need to hold also needs to be a clean one.”

One change at a time: Handwashing »

Mobile handwash stations on show at A Journey Through IPC
Mediwash mobile hand washing stations

Effective mobile hand washing for everyone – wherever they are

Teal produces a comprehensive range of mobile and washing units for every type of hand washing situation for use by anyone who needs to wash their hands effectively, whether they’re in hospital or medical facility, care home, an office environment, temporary accommodation or out in the field on a daily basis.

Mobile hand wash stations can also be hired »

There are vehicle mounted, wall mounted, mains powered and free standing hand wash stations as well as mobile sinks for use with pre-heated hot water.

The Teal range of mobile sinks includes the MediWashHygienius and Hygienius ProWashBigSynkSuper StalletteTEALwashHandeman XtraCompact ClassicHandSpa, CliniWash – and now the new WashStand Xtra.