Dr. Nosanchuk, Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases) and Microbiology/Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, considers the fact that while healthcare workers know that they should wash their hands, nosocomial infections associated with the transmission of microbes from health care workers to patients remains an enormous problem:

“We know from various studies as well as observing our fellow clinicians on the wards that hand washing rates dramatically improve when clinicians are observed in the course of routine healthcare delivery. What I didn’t know was that electronic systems that can detect alcohol present in microbicidal gels and soaps. From a pubmed search, I learned that these systems have been in development for several years!”

“The systems available vary, but basically you wear an indicator that, for example, blinks when you wash your hands at a monitored sink. The system registers that you applied a gel or soap. If you approach a patient while wearing the badge without washing your hands at the appropriate sink, the badge vibrates to remind you to return to the hand washing area. If you fail to wash your hands despite the warning, you are flagged (but not directly flogged!) by the system.”

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After 2009 reports about prisoners misusing alcoholic hand gel (they drank it to get drunk), recently the Irish National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) made another report of worisome side-effects of alcoholic hand gel. It appears that a relatively high percentage of children got ingested after using alcoholic hand gel.

John Herbert, NPIC spokesman, said that the organisation was concerned at the trend, which reflected the increasing availability of these products in hospitals, businesses and other healthcare institutions in 2009:

“We saw a pretty steady increase in the number of calls around November last year. however, that since the spike in calls, numbers had dropped to eight in 2010 so far.”

The NPIC received 54 enquiries and 74pc of these related to children. In 2008, there were just 20 calls from concerned doctors who were treating patients who had ingested alcohol hand gel!

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DENVER & ST. PAUL, Minn., Mar 16, 2010 – With a video featuring healthcare professionals demonstrating hand hygiene practices while singing a version of the Hokey Pokey, Billings Clinic of Billings, Mont., was named the winner of the “It’s in Your Hands” YouTube video contest, sponsored by 3M and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).

With more than 2,500 votes, Billings Clinic was announced as the winner last night during the AORN annual Congress in Denver, and received a $5,000 educational grant that can be redeemed for any AORN program or service or to purchase AORN reference materials.

“Hand hygiene is an integral part of patient safety at Billings Clinic and our team united to share a serious message in an entertaining way,” said Jackie Hines, RN, the AORN member who submitted the video on behalf of Billings Clinic. “We are honored to be recognized by our industry and thank AORN and 3M for bringing attention to the important work of perioperative professionals.”

The Billings video competed against two other finalists from John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, Calif., and Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The three finalists were selected by AORN’s Recommended Practices Committee using several contest criteria including adherence to AORN’s Recommended Practices for Hand Hygiene in the Perioperative Setting, an evidence-based set of guidelines for practicing optimal hand hygiene.

“It has been incredibly exciting to have professionals around the country rally behind this initiative and show both their colleagues and patients how they follow these critical hand hygiene best practices” said Patrick Voight RN, BSN, MSA, CNOR, president of AORN. “We congratulate Billings Clinic on their selection as contest winner. Billings Clinic demonstrated perfect adherence to the Recommended Practices, while also incorporating creativity.”

The “It’s in Your Hands” YouTube video contest was created as part of a partnership between 3M Infection Prevention and AORN to raise awareness of the deadly risks associated with improper hand hygiene techniques and the importance of the Recommend Practices, while encouraging best practices among OR nurses and other healthcare professionals.

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