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Hand Hygiene - Research Paper Example

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HAND HYGIENE Introduction Hand hygiene is, ideally the simplest and the most basic practice and routine for people in order to avoid illnesses. It is a widely recognized fact that an individual can be a primary source of diseases. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for hand hygiene to be overlooked…
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Hand Hygiene

98) Recent statistics underscore the seriousness of this practice as about 80,000 people die annually because of infections that result out of poor hand hygiene. (p. 98) Description of Literature on the Subject Hand hygiene is considered part of the fundamental healthcare standards for health care providers. It is expected, hence, that it is sufficiently covered in the corpus of medical literature, particularly in health care service. To verify this, several medical references were exhausted, ranging from medical standards, disease treatment and control, best practices in the industry, to medical guides for professional health care, among other related sources. A special attention was given to those nursing-related references. The investigation of the literature revealed a comprehensive and detailed academic works that have been undertaken according to scientific and medical standards. All in all, the literature is credible, authoritative and complete. Effective Hand Hygiene The book, The Foundation of Nursing (2005), explained that hand hygiene includes “hand washing (using plain soap and water), antiseptic hand wash (using antimicrobial substances and water), antiseptic hand rub (using alcohol-based hand rub), and surgical hand antisepsis (using antiseptic hand wash or antiseptic hand rub preoperatively by surgical personnel to eliminate transient resident hand flora). (White, p. 527) Numerous sources are one in explaining in detail the procedures by which the previously outlined hand hygiene procedures can be effectively carried out. Gregory and Mursell (2010) summed them into the following guide: 1. All wrist and hand jewelry should be removed prior to hand-cleansing. Cuts and abrasions must be covered with waterproof dressings. Finger nails should be kept short and free from nail polish. 2. Hand washing techniques involve three phases – preparation, washing and rinsing, and drying: a. Wet the hands under running tepid water BEFORE applying cleaning preparations. b. Hand wash solution must come into contact with ALL of the surfaces of the hand. c. The hand must be RUBBED together for between 10 to 15 seconds paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers, the thumb and the areas between the fingers. d. Hands should be rinsed thoroughly before drying. 3. When decontaminating hands using an alcohol hand-rub, hands should be free of dirt and organic material. The hand-rub solution must come into contact with all surfaces of the hand. (p. 231) Current Practice Even though hand hygiene requires very simple procedure and supposedly form part of the standard routines of medical professionals, its compliance rate is as low as 50%. (Creedon 2005, p. 208-216) Mayers’ (2009) work was more detailed and dismal in depicting this statistics. He found that compliance with hand hygiene and proper glove use ranged from 9% to 25%. (p. 1284) Indeed, according to Dixon’s (2008) research, staff members do not wash hands enough, at the right time to employ optimal technique and that efforts at interventions such as education and training in order to increase compliance are not overly successful. (p. 247) Several reasons are given why medical service providers fail to practice proper hand hygiene besides sheer neglect. Some of these are listed below: 1. dermatitis and skin problems, which affect that frequency of ... Read More
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