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DebMed Blog: Healthcare Hygiene Matters

Protecting Patients with the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene

Posted by DebMed on Nov 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Within the world of healthcare, the term “5 Moments” holds significant meaning. As the preferred method of hand hygiene monitoring, The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene to track hand hygiene performance of healthcare workers. From entering and exiting a patient’s room, there are five critical moments that hand hygiene should be performed to ensure the health and safety of patients and staff members.

Yet, many healthcare professionals attempt to streamline the hand hygiene process to get from patient to patient more quickly. With busy schedules and long shifts, healthcare professionals often miss out on key moments to prevent HAIs and promote health by only washing their hands before and after caring for a patient. This method, otherwise known as the “in and out method,” means healthcare workers only meet two of the five critical hand hygiene moments, putting the health of patients, staff and visitors at risk.

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Topics: electronic monitoring, culture change, infection prevention, hand hygiene, WHO's Five Moments for Hand Hygiene

Healthcare Barriers to Adopting New Hand Hygiene Technology

Posted by DebMed on Nov 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

A recent survey found that infection preventionists are expressing a need for updated technology and processes to help fight healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)[1]. The survey asked 650 infection preventionists and clinicians on the biggest challenges associated with infection prevention. Over half (51 percent) of respondents said the lack of adopting new technology and processes, along with insufficient support from senior leadership, are a large barrier to preventing infections.

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Topics: electronic monitoring, culture change, infection prevention, hand hygiene

Disruptive Technology - Leading  the Way in the Healthcare Industry

Posted by Martyn Hodgkinson on Jul 5, 2018 10:41:25 AM

As disruptive technology continues to grow, Healthcare facilities are considering the use of electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems as part of their infection prevention protocols.

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Topics: technology, electronic monitoring, infection prevention

The Top 10 Things Infection Preventionists Want For The Holidays

Posted by DebMed on Dec 27, 2017 6:00:00 AM

We hope that all of your infection prevention wishes come true! Happy holidays to you and yours from your friends at DebMed.

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Topics: infection prevention, holidays, flu season

4 Ways To Give Flu The Cold Shoulder This Winter

Posted by DebMed on Nov 30, 2017 7:00:00 AM

Winter is just around the corner – and with it comes flu season, meaning potential bad news for healthcare facilities. Minor illnesses are already a major staffing issue for hospitals – they cause an annual average loss of 4.3 working days per person[1] – and they are especially problematic at a time of year when admissions see a major increase. However, this year could prove to be even worse…

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Topics: flu season, Influenza, infection prevention, healthcare, flu vaccine

Warning Nasty Flu Season Ahead

Posted by Lisa A. Mack, MS, MPH on Nov 23, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Reading the articles about the 2017-18 flu season, you’ll see headlines like “potential for nasty winter season”, and “why we may be in for a miserable flu season”. (I don’t think I’ve seen a “good” flu season). During every flu season there are hospitalizations and deaths that occur.  

 

 

The 2017-18 seasonal flu season in the Northern hemisphere is beginning now. Experts are warning that we may be in for a nasty flu season. Our flu season begins usually at low levels in October and November, with a rise in December and continuing through April. Flu levels are at low levels at this point with other respiratory viruses circulating. Our season follows the Southern hemisphere’s season, which occurs during our summer, their winter. Looking at how effective the vaccine produced was, against the circulating strains, gives us a glimpse into what ours may look like. Australia has recorded over 200,000 flu cases so far in 2017, which is more than any of their other flu seasons. Based upon Australia’s experience, we may have a higher number of cases, but nothing is certain.

 

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To arrive at our flu season with our flu vaccine, we need to go back and see how the vaccine is made. Every year a new flu vaccine is made. Influenza is a virus and viruses like to change, or mutate, hence the need to tweak the vaccine components each year. Flu season is a year- long event where the Southern hemisphere has their season before the Northern hemisphere. This is during our summer, and their winter. Scientists study which viruses are circulating, number of hospitalizations, and deaths. Year round the World Health Organization (WHO) has sentinel sites in 113 different countries which collect surveillance information about circulating viruses, severity, and how well the vaccine matches those strains. These small centers send their information to one of the WHO Collaborating Centers on Influenza: Atlanta GA, London, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Beijing. Scientists from each of the 5 sites meet twice each year, in February and again in September first to determine what will compose the Northern hemisphere’s vaccine, and then to determine the following year’s Southern hemisphere vaccine. As you see, there is lag time in the production of the vaccines until they are given to people. The scientists have to choose what they feel will be the predominant strains and hope that when they get to people the virus hasn’t changed much. There is a lot of predicting going into flu vaccine development which happens months in advance for a virus that loves to change.

 

There are 3 types of influenza virus: A, B, and C. The dominant strains we are beginning to see now are A H3N2 (Singapore), A H1N1 (Michigan), and B (Phuket). This presents a bit of a problem as the H3N2 strain is not an exact match as the H3N2 that is in the vaccine, which is A H3N2 (Hong Kong). It is very similar but not exact. But is it worth getting? Yes, of course it is worth it. It may not be the optimal vaccine, but it will provide good coverage. And while it may not match exactly, it will lessen the severity of the infection.  Everyone 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccine before the end of October. Pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, the young, and the elderly should all make sure to receive their vaccine. It is not only for your protection, but for those around you that can’t receive the vaccine.  There are some additional activities that we should take to prevent flu and other respiratory viruses:

 

  1. Avoid close contact.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose, sneeze into your sleeve.
  4. Wash your hands.
  5. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  6. Avoid touching the T-Zone- Eyes, Nose, and Mouth.
  7. Practice good health habits


Learn About the Proper Hand Washing Technique

 

References

  1. Here’s why Canada may be in for a miserable 2017-18 flu season. Carmen Chai. Global News
  2. Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines, 2017-18. CDC cdc.gov/flu
  3. Here’s why the 2017 flu season was so bad. Ian M. Mackay, Katherine Arden.http://theconversation.com/here’s-why-the-2017-flu-season-was-so-bad
  4. WHO swaps out H3N2, B strains in Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine. Lisa Schnirring  CIDRAP News cidrap.umn.edu
  5. How Are Seasonal Flu Vaccines Made? Sabrina Stierwalt Quick and Dirty Tips. Com

 

About the Author

Lisa A. Mack MS, MPH is an Epidemiologist and Communicable Disease Investigator. In addition, she is a certified HIV counselor and tester in a county sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic. She received a Master of Science degree (Epidemiology) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health degree (Epidemiology) from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health.

 Her current research interest is investigating the antibacterial properties of essential oils to be used in treating multidrug resistant bacteria (MRSA, MSSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, etc.) in the healthcare setting.  She loves germs, diseases, public health, educating & empowering people about their health and well-being. Public Health Rocks!

 

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Topics: Influenza, flu season, infection prevention

Fall into the Infection Prevention Momentum

Posted by Tanya van Monsjou on Nov 16, 2017 2:39:20 PM

Have you ever listened to a song and felt the lyrics were stolen from your inner monologue? Did that song make you feel energized and motivated to make a change? Perhaps it’s not just the song that ignites us, but the idea that someone else shares the same passion! 

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Topics: International Infection Prevention Week, National Infection Control Week, World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Global Handwashing Day, infection prevention, hand hygiene

Hand Hygiene Compliance and the Engaged Patient

Posted by DebMed on Nov 2, 2017 9:25:49 PM

Patient empowerment is a hot-button topic, particularly as it pertains to patients understanding their health needs and ensuring those needs are met by healthcare workers. But where do hospitals and healthcare workers draw the line between empowering patients and taking ownership for their training - or lack thereof?

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Topics: hand hygiene, hand hygiene compliance, healthcare-associated infections, infection prevention, electronic monitoring, Canadian Patient Safety Week, hand hygiene education, patient education, patient engagement

Top 5 Infection Prevention Articles Of All Time

Posted by Tanya van Monsjou on Oct 13, 2017 9:13:24 AM

The third week of October is dedicated to Infection Prevention and Control Professionals from across the healthcare spectrum, recognizing the profession and providing them with an engaged audience and an open forum for communication and education. The heightened awareness generated by social media, infection prevention partners, and the media drive us to look at our own hand hygiene practices and frequency of events, and question whether or not we are doing enough to protect ourselves and others from the spread of germs. The simple answer is no! In fact, according to the CDC hand hygiene compliance by healthcare providers is on average 50% or less.

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Topics: IIPW, nicw, International Infection Prevention Week, National Infection Control Week, hospital aquired infections, infection prevention, hand hygiene

Popular 'Life Hacks' for Germy Places

Posted by Patrick Boshell on Sep 7, 2017 10:28:20 AM
During the flu season it is important for healthcare workers to consider hand hygiene habits at work and at play, while in public and at home.

When using a public rest room have you ever flushed the toilet using your feet or maybe used a paper towel to avoid touching a restroom door handle? We'll you are not alone.

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Topics: flu season, hand hygiene, infection prevention

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About the blog

The DebMed blog is the go-to source for hand hygiene and infection prevention related discussions occurring in the healthcare industry. Join the conversation! All readers are invited to comment, share stories and information, and post articles of interest.

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