Why many healthcare workers fail at hand hygiene
On average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.
Medics' resistance to change and a culture of mediocrity in hospitals puts millions at risk of infection each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC reports:
- Hospital infections affect 2 million people in US every year - 100,000 die
- Up to 70% of infections preventable if medics followed hand hygiene guide
- Study found opposition to rules come from medics who are active resisters
- Active resisters are people who like doing things a certain way for the simple reason that things have always been done that way
- Another barrier is that many hospitals have a culture of mediocrity rather than a culture of excellence, experts warn
There are many reasons hand hygiene compliance lags:
- Sinks or hand rub dispensers aren’t always in convenient places in hospitals.
- When a doctor or nurse goes to clean their hands, there might not actually be soap or hand sanitizer in the dispenser.
- Some health care workers might be concerned about drying out their skin.
- Or some may still need convincing that hand hygiene is important.
- Finally, hand hygiene may simply be overlooked given other tasks that demand a health care worker’s attention in the often-chaotic hospital setting.