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International Journal of Nursing & Clinical Practices Volume 4 (2017), Article ID 4:IJNCP-217, 1 pages
https://doi.org/10.15344/2394-4978/2017/217
Commentary
Hand Hygiene of Nurses and Patient Safety

Maria Malliarou

Nursing Department, Technological Institution of Thessaly, Terpsithea, Larisa, 41500, Greece
Dr. Maria Malliarou, Nursing Department, Technological Institution of Thessaly, Terpsithea, Larisa, 41500, Greece, Tel: +81-95-819-2359; E-mail: mmalliarou@gmail.com
05 January 2017; 11 January 2017; 13 January 2017
Malliarou M (2017) Hand Hygiene of Nurses and Patient Safety. Int J Nurs Clin Pract 4: 217. doi: https://doi.org/10.15344/2394-4978/2017/217

Abstract

Introduction: Hand hygiene is one of the most effective measures to prevent hospital acquired infections and improve patient safety.
Aim: To state how important is for nurses to get hand hygiene in their everyday practice in order to be safe for their patients.
Method: A review of articles with key words “hand, hygiene, hand, safety, nurse, and guideline”.
Results: Infectious diseases are a particular risk to the very young, the elderly, those with a pre-existing disease, and people with a compromised immune system. Nurses need to wash their hands not only to prevent them from getting sick, but to protect their patients from acquiring health-care associated infections.

Hand hygiene noncompliance is a major cause of nosocomial infection. Good hand hygiene plays a major role in reducing and eliminating the spread of germs and infections from patient-topatient. Research has shown that while healthcare workers state largely favorable attitudes towards hand-cleaning practices, observed compliance rates are below 30% [1]. Reasons given by professionals for the lack of compliance to hand-cleaning practices highlights several explanatory factors, including: work conditions (lack oftime), infrastructures (lack of equipment), training (inadequate), human environment (superiors, colleagues, unscrupulouspatients) and the health of medical and nursing staff (skin irritations caused by frequent hand-cleaning). Infection prevention and infection control have always been serious topics, but this is particularly true today, with the spread of the swine fluand associated infections [2].

Good personal hygiene plays a major part in reducing and eliminating the spread of germs and infections from person-toperson. It also helps in reducing the spread of infectious illnesses, including colds, flu and other upper respiratory illnesses. A big part of personal hygiene is hand hygiene and incorporating safety measures in developing habits that will stave off illnesses can help to further reduce the spread of germs and infections [3]. Ensuring that today's medical professionals make hand washing a priority is essential. Simple activity of frequent hand-washing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention. It is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which cause more than 3.5 million deaths worldwide in children under the age of 5 every year. Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands [4].

Hand-to-hand contact can spread mild conditions, such as the common cold, but also more severe or life-threatening diseases. Infectious diseases are a particular risk to the very young, the elderly, those with a pre-existing disease, and people with a compromised immune system [5]. Nurses washing their hands not only prevent them from getting sick, but it also reduces the risk of infecting others. If they don't wash their hands properly before coming into contact with others, they can infect their patients but also their family members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly mandates that all healthcare personnel decontaminate their hands as they enter a patient’s room and as they leave the room6. The perceived barriers to hand washing that are consistently being targeted in research studies are inaccessible or inconveniently located sinks and dispensers, forgetfulness, heavy workload, ignorance of guidelines and lack of scientific knowledge. Placing dispensers immediately next to each bed is a solution to the problem or using the visual display of large posters emphasizing the importance of hand washing reminds staff to wash their hands [7,8].

Competing Interests

The author declare that there is no competing interests regarding the publication of this article.


References

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