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Monday, December 22, 2008

Hospital Stays are 5x higher When No Hand Hygiene Program exists

While everyone is busy slashing budgets, below is an extract from a paper published by Sort of eye-opening, and another reminder that a mere $1000 in "spending costs" on certain products and approaches can save literally millions of dollars, and countless lives.

We heard about a hospital in Rhode Island that actually cut back on spending to refill soap dispensers in public areas. We didn't believe it, so we visited the hospital last month. Half of the soap dispensers were actually empty.

Aside, when it comes to the topic of hand sanitizers, we keep hearing from 'experts' that rest their laurels on the CDC's 'hand hygiene white paper', the one that was originally published in 1996 and "recommends" alcohol-based gels when washing with soap and water isn't convenient.

"..That's simply not true..", according to senior spokesperson Kathleen Stewart . She says "the CDC only recommends washing with with soap (non-antimicrobial) and water. We defer to people to do their own research when it comes to hand sanitizer products and formulas.."

Exactly why the experts that are getting up to speed are concluding that alcohol-free alternatives actually exist (just one example is "Hy5", they're actually just as effective when considering the wide spectrum of pathogens, they're safer to the skin, and in point of fact are 2x-3x more cost effective when compared to legacy alcohol-based gels.

Cost of Healthcare Associated Infections

In the state of Pennsylvania, the number of healthcare associated infections increased 58% to 30,237 reported cases in 2006 compared to 19,154 cases in 2005. Looking at the data, the mortality rate of patients who acquired HAIs was 6 times higher than patients without HAIs. We recognize that the cost of human life is high, but the study goes beyond and calculates the operational costs of the healthcare facilities.

On average, the hospital charge for admitted patients without HAIs was $33,260. In contrast, the average hospital charge for admitted patient with HAIs was $175,964. In addition, the average length of stay in hospital while the patient was admitted was higher by 5 times the amount in patients with HAIs. The findings of this study draw the conclusion that HAIs are responsible for a large chunk of health care costs. Experts agree that the single most effective measure for combating HAIs in hospitals is improving hand hygiene which leads to a reduction in the high costs of health care.

The incremental operating cost of a healthcare associated infection is calculated at thousands of dollars. If a hand hygiene campaign is able to prevent one HAI, the efforts will not have been for naught. Experts from CDC and APIC speak with unison regarding the need to improve hand hygiene around the world. Preventing healthcare-associated infections is the best way of attacking the HAI problem and good hand hygiene is recognized as the single most effective method of preventing HAIs

Monday, December 15, 2008

Latest Study: Nurses Say No To Alcohol Hand Sanitizers; Dermatitis

Nurses’ perceptions of the benefits and adverse effects of hand disinfection: alcohol-based hand rubs vs. hygienic handwashing: a multicentre questionnaire study with additional patch testing by the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group.

Excerpts from the study are below; what a shame that none of these nurses seem to be aware there are alcohol-free, rinse free hand sanitizers...

ADI= Alcohol Disinfection; HW= Hand Washing

The majority (PS 60.1%; MC 69.5%) of nurses considered ADI to be more damaging than HW. Mostly, ADI and HW were suspected to have irritant effects (ADI 79.2%/52.1%; HW 65.5%/36.2%) compared with an allergenic potential (ADI 10.4%/5.8%; HW 7.8%/3.9%). The prevalence of hand dermatitis in the MC was 13.4% by self-diagnosis and 22.4% by symptom-based questions. In 50 tested individuals no sensitization and only two irritant reactions to alcohols and three single-positive reactions to ABHRs were observed, none of the latter related to alcohols. Conclusions Although ADI is known to cause less skin irritation than HW, nurses perceive ADI as more damaging, resulting in: (i) a low compliance with ADI and (ii) a higher prevalence of hand dermatitis because the more deleterious HW is preferred. This may result in an increase in occupational disease and nosocomial infections.

Alternative alcohol-free hand sanitizers that contain the organic compound benzalkonium chloride are hypoallergenic and antiseptic--and do not cause dermititis, nor do they destroy protective skin cells.

Monday, December 1, 2008

As hospital infections spread, so do medical-malpractice lawsuits

"...At a minimum, attorneys that represent hospitals should advise them to have policies on infection prevention, such as hand-hygiene policies..."

"...She suggested that attorneys advise hospitals to take stronger measures, such as penalizing those who violate hand-hygiene rules and screening incoming patients for MRSA. About 126,000 people are hospitalized with MRSA infections each year and about 5,000 die, the CDC reported..."

Hospitals have long had policies calling for medical personnel to keep their hands clean before and after seeing patients and for support staff to disinfect the facilities regularly. But historically those policies have not been as strictly enforced as they should have been, Manley said.

"...hospitals and doctors are more likely to be sued over infections if they don’t implement proven methods to prevent them..."

Yet another article raising the hands on the issue of hand hygiene in health care venues....Of course, 99.9% of hospitals are still looking at a 1996 manual from CDC that purportedly promotes alcohol gel sanitizers, despite the fact that CDC spokesperson Kathleen Stewart vehemently states that "CDC does not recommend alcohol-based gels..." leaving the door open to proactive administrators that understand the distinctions between the newer, non-alcohol, rinse free hand sanitizer products that are just as effective as the legacy products, but are non-irritating to the skin, non-flammable and non-toxic..