Isn’t it a given? - Hospital hand hygiene

THE opposite may be intended, but there is something worrying about walking into a hospital and finding instructions on the wall explaining when and how to wash your hands.

The staff are health professionals with years of training and experience and the patients and their visitors are by and large sensible people who are not unacquainted with a sink and a soap dispenser. Surely, they should not need to be told.

And yet, once again, Hiqa inspections have found hospitals falling short on “hand hygiene practices” with University Hospital Galway, Sligo University Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital the latest culprits.

It is worth noting that Portiuncula had an outbreak of Clostridium difficile late last year, for which poor hand hygiene was considered a contributory factor.

One of the findings at all three hospitals was that only some staff were attending the “mandatory” hand hygiene training sessions. Presumably, they think they don’t need to be told when and how to wash their hands. The evidence suggests otherwise.


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