Giving health staff their own hand gel cuts OR contamination

12th of November 2013
Giving health staff their own hand gel cuts OR contamination

Simple remedies such as keeping antibacterial gel dispensers clean and giving healthcare workers their own hand sanitiser can help to keep patients safe in operating and recovery rooms, according to two new studies.

In the first study, healthcare workers were given a personal sanitation gel dispensing device to be worn on their belts. Compliance rates with and without the device were then compared.

"Despite the availability of wall-mounted hand sanitation dispensers, compliance without the personal dispensing devices was less than ideal," said Dr Colby L Parks of the University of Wisconsin's anesthesia department.

When the personal gel dispensers were in use, hand-washing compliance increased by 29 per cent.
"This study shows that a simple intervention in which a personal antibacterial hand gel dispenser is readily available works better for a busy healthcare provider's workflow pattern, presumably leading to decreased patient and surrounding care area contamination," said Dr Parks.

The second study looked at bacterial counts on high-touch surfaces such as hand sanitiser dispensers.

"Often the last object touched by the anesthesia provider before the patient's IV is the hand sanitiser dispenser," said Dr Devon C Cole from the University of Florida's anesthesiology department. "The hand sanitiser is touched to sanitise a presumably unsanitary hand and is therefore uniquely vulnerable to contamination.

"Routine cleansing of the dispensers will reduce this reservoir of bacteria so decontamination of the dispenser should be an important part of anesthesia workstation cleaning." The study found that keeping the dispensers clean helped to decrease bacterial contamination by 75 per cent.

The study results were presented at the Anesthesiology 2013 annual meeting.


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