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UTMC focuses on hand hygiene for infection prevention

In recognition of International Infection Prevention Week, The University of Toledo Medical Center is going back to the basics of infection prevention by focusing on proper hand hygiene.

UTMC’s “Wash in-Wash out” hand hygiene policy states employees should perform hand hygiene with traditional soap or water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or waterless antimicrobial hand gel, spray, wipes or foam before and after they enter a patient room or environment. By doing this, the risk of hospital-inquired infections is significantly reduced.

“Practicing proper hand hygiene is not only the most effective method of preventing the spread of germs, but is the least expensive method to assist with infection prevention efforts,” said Ann Keegan, director of infection prevention and control for UTMC.

The hospital’s current compliance rate is 79 percent, which exceeds the goal of 75 percent.

“If everyone holds themselves and their colleagues accountable for proper hand hygiene, we can increase our observed compliance and decrease transmission of infections,” Keegan said.

The World Health Organization recommends these five moments to perform hand hygiene:

• Before touching a patient;

• Before clean/aseptic procedures;

• After body fluid exposure/risk;

• After touching a patient; and

• After touching patient surroundings.

“Keeping patients safe from infection is everyone’s responsibility,” Keegan said. “By continuing to practice proper hand hygiene, we promote a safe environment and are decreasing the possibility of spreading infections throughout our facility.”