In the U.S. about 100,000 people die every year from health-care related infections. Proper hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of viruses and diseases. At a time when there are multiple antibiotics that are losing their effectiveness, this is not good news for our population. It costs about $33 billion to treat all these diseases during any given year.
In 2002 the Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines for good hand hygiene and in 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) also implemented guidelines
In a recent study by the WHO, it was revealed that one in five U.S hospitals still don't offer alcohol based hand sanitizer to health-care workers at every point of care station. The objective of the study was to research the number of U.S based health-care facilities that had implemented a hand-washing campaign.
It was found that less than half of the hospitals in the study were allocating funds for proper hygiene training. Because employees of these facilities are not offered hand sanitizer at each "point of care" work station, these healthcare workers are being subjected to potentially dangerous viruses and diseases.
The study was conducted in 42 states and Puerto Rico and the WHO evaluated 168 facilities. The research team was led by the head of the WHO infection control program Benedetta Allegranzi, MD, and Columbia University student Laurie Conway, RN, MS, CIC, a PhD
In 77.5% facilities it was reported that sanitizer containing alcohol was always available at every point of care.
Conway said, “When hospitals don’t focus heavily on hand hygiene, that puts patients at unnecessary risk for preventable healthcare-associated infections,” in a news release. “The tone for compliance with infection control guidelines is set at the highest levels of management, and our study also found that executives aren’t always doing all that they can to send a clear message that preventing infections is a priority.”
“While hand hygiene compliance is the responsibility of every healthcare worker, U.S. healthcare facilities would certainly benefit from coordinated national and sub-national efforts aimed at hand hygiene improvement. They would also gather innovative ideas and trans-cultural approaches by participating in global efforts such as the WHO campaign.”
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