Good hand hygiene practice is critical to effective infection prevention and for reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Evidence shows however that we still have a long way to go, with research from the Joint Commission estimating that hand hygiene compliance is still only at 50% of what is required.
SC Johnson Professional™ is continuing to raise awareness of the importance of skin health for Glove Awareness Week, which kicks off on Monday 29th April. Coinciding with World Hand Hygiene Day on Sunday 5th May, The Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) Glove Awareness Week highlights the importance of skin health and appropriate glove use to all nurses, midwives, health practitioner members, students and healthcare organisations worldwide.
Throughout the campaign, SC Johnson Professional™ will collaborate with the RCN to help promote correct glove use and hand hygiene compliance within the healthcare industry, as well as raise awareness of preventing, recognising and managing work-related dermatitis.
Within the healthcare sector, glove use has become a key aspect of ward culture and is an important control measure for protecting both patients and staff. Yet inappropriate glove use can often lead to hand dermatitis – a painful condition that affects one in five nurses and may require nursing staff to be moved out of clinical areas due to the risk of infection from damaged skin.
Inappropriate glove use, whether it’s over or under use, can place staff and patients at risk of contact dermatitis, infection, and missed opportunities for hand hygiene.
While gloves help to create a barrier between germs and hands, the prolonged use of gloves can lead to a lack of hand hygiene compliance, resulting in the spread of infection between patients and staff, and the passing of germs from one patient to the next.
In addition, if workers develop dermatitis, they are less likely to wash their hands due to the pain, thus resulting in the spread of infection further.
Within the UK, continued pressure on the NHS and healthcare staff to meet challenging performance targets, rising populations, higher bed occupancy levels and the need to treat and discharge patients quickly, all collide to create a high-pressured environment where the risk of HCAIs is an ever-present, but still avoidable, threat.
Given the risks to patient health and mortality, and the consequential financial and reputational costs to hospital and healthcare bodies because of infections, the need to address hand hygiene compliance is evident.
Effective infection prevention and control is fundamental to the issue of patient safety, and further measures need to be put in place to ensure that no patient is harmed by a preventable infection.
As part of Glove Awareness Week, The Royal College of Nursing will be hosting a one-day event on Thursday 2nd May to challenge, celebrate and debate the use of gloves as part of the delivery of health and care in all settings.
To find out more about Glove Awareness Week, visit https://www.rcn.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/glove-awareness.