Anyone who has ever been in a hospital in Washington State whether as a patient or a visitor of a patient should hopefully have been aware of measures taken by the staff to maintain a clean and sterile environment. Unfortunately, too many people nationwide develop infections from unsanitary conditions in a hospital. In fact, Becker’s Hospital Review indicates that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state as many as one out of every 25 people admitted to a hospital will contract such an infection.
Several medical centers around the country have recognized this danger and taken active measures to counteract it. Twenty hospitals have actually been identified as successful in this effort. Sadly none of them are in the state of Washington and the closest are in California or Colorado.
The efforts that led to improvements included changing the focus from reducing infections to achieving a rate of zero infections to contribute to a mindset among all employees. Compliance programs were also created with consequences up to and including dismissal for non-compliance. Increasing access to hand sanitizer stations and changing uniforms to those with materials able to repel fluids and not allow the growth of micro-organisms also were seen in use at these hospitals.
The CDC encourages patients and their loved ones to take an active role in monitoring hand hygiene by asking doctors, nurses and other staff to please wash their hands at key times such as before touching the patient or upon entering a room, for example.