Handwashing

  1. What do you think of alcohol based handwashing agents as an alternative for soap and water?
    Last edit by CTnuse on Jan 8, '02
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Reabock
    This stuff has just appeared on the side of our isolation carts, and after someone else showed me how to make the dispenser work, I have been using it, on the way to the sink to wash my hands properly. Of course this just showed up without any explanation or inservice so we don't know what the infection control person has found out about its effectiveness.
  4. by   pebbles
    It smells funny and it dries my skin even more, because REAL handwashing is still just as important, so I end up getting a double dose. I usually only use the hand-sanitizer stuff if I have just come out of a patients room from doing something yucky like an ostomy or infected wound dressing change.
  5. by   Teshiee
    I know on our unit we have it around but then again it states wash between patients. Ambigious to me. I personally agree with you the alcohol dries much worser. I just wash my hands and use their lotion to ease the dryness.
  6. by   deespoohbear
    That stuff tears up my hands! I just go and wash my hands with the soap and water. The anti-bacterial soap eats up my hands also. I got a case of ecezma and the dermatologist said the anti-bacterial stuff I use at work was making it worse. So, at home I use just plain ole soap and water. Is anyone else concerned about the anti-bacterial soaps leading to resistant strains of germs?
  7. by   Mijourney
    Hi. In home care, I use alcohol based hand wash in addition to soap. I do this if I have patients that are a good distance away from the office. Since most of my patients live close to the office, I go there to use the bathroom. I usually don't have a whole day where I can't get to the office bathroom for a break.
  8. by   CTnuse
    I am doing a practicum project for my BSN degree and chose handwashing as the subject. The literature is full of pros for the alcohol based handwashing agents especially if placed at the bedside. I implemented this product in my ICU at each bedside and by the tube system (where we send our lab specimens). Our infection rate has decreased dramatically.

    AS part of my inservice on this product we did a race between the acohol rub (Cal Stat Healthcare Personnel Handwash) and traditional hadwashing. Guess who came out first?

    Alcohol rubs are faster, more effective and recent products are gentle on your hands. The product we use in my unit is great and gentle on the hands. I too have sensitive hads and have had little problems since starting this product in August.

    Just thought you would like to know and thanks to all who have responded.
  9. by   NurseDennie
    Alcohol rubs may indeed be faster, but I don't trust 'em!

    I worked at a place that had an official policy that you could use the alcohol rub a specified number of times between handwashes. (it was a group home where you administered meds from a med cart to people in a living room type environment). You donned gloves to administer the meds and then used the alcohol rub. Ewwwwww. First off, I don't "Feel" clean if I haven't washed. Secondly, the rubs are drying. Thirdly, the stuff tends to pile up on your hands and start flaking off if you try to use it two or three times between washing. Yeucchhhhh and also irritating!

    I'm going to look and see if I can find it, but I've heard anecdotes about being able to culture icky germs from the bottles of alcohol rubs.

    Love

    Dennie
  10. by   CTnuse
    NurseDennie -
    I totally agree with you that after several times of using the ETOH rub it builds up. That is when i do use the chlorohydrate soap and water.

    As far as the germs on the bottles, these are in dispensers on the wall as recommended by the AACN.
  11. by   Agnus
    I don't know, I only read this that alcohol hand cleaners are easier on your skin than soap. (seems contrary to what I would expect) I also read in several place that you should wash with soap and water after every so many times with the alcohol. I don't use the alcohol cleaner much at work. I carry some in my car (a habit left over from my home care days) because I discovered if you use it after pumping gas it takes the odor of gasoline away like nothing else.

    I find the brown paper towels we use after hand washing in the hospital rougher on my hands than alcohol.
  12. by   debbyed
    I don't use it regularly but it is really great to have in triage. As noted above you really need to wash your hands after a couple of uses.
  13. by   hoolahan
    I did a short stint as an infection control nurse, and when given the opportunity to observe, and do nothing but observe, how many hospital employees do and do not wash their hands between pt contact, I say go for the easiest solution. If there is anything at all that will increase compoliance with infection control issues, I am all for it!

    For myself, as a home health nurse, I have been in some places where the kitchen was a scary place. Also some places, one where I suspected may be a crack factopry in the kitchen, I was not allowed in there, I used this alc-based handwash. I wash my hands at the next house, if possible, or as soon as possible the real way. I only use it in these situations, otherwise I wash my hands at the start and finish of each visit.

    I think it is OK as an alternative, when not close to the sink, but as everyone has already said, if for no other reason that build-up, wash for real after every few uses.

    CT nurse, I applaud your recognition of this problem, and even more, your results! Kudos to you and your hard work!! Maybe as a result of your research, it will be found that this is better than handwashing, and our entire way of thinking will be challenged!! Way to go!!
  14. by   NurseDennie
    CT nurse, you said : As far as the germs on the bottles, these are in dispensers on the wall as recommended by the AACN.

    I meant IN the rub itself! Again, you have to take that with a grain of salt, and I haven't had time to see if there's been anyone to look into it. You'd think on the face of it, it would be impossible. Yet, I've heard it from more than one person (which doesn't make it true) so I have to wonder.

    I just Feel icky if I haven't washed my hands recently.

    Love

    Dennie

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