Utah hospitals cleaning up a nagging problem

  1. Jeanette Smyth has spies watching to make sure doctors, nurses and therapists at Ogden Regional Medical Center wash their hands.

    At the low point, half weren't practicing good hygiene. Today, the shirkers are down to about 10 percent, according to the hospital's infection control and prevention specialist.

    Smyth's secret auditors "walk up and down the hall and pretend they're doing other things with the clipboard. If you're watched, your compliance goes up," she said. "If the compliance is down, they hear about it. This is a never event: We never want them not to wash their hands."

    At the beginning, physicians washed their hands the least, Smyth said. It's taken time, but she believes the hospital culture is changing.

    Hand sanitizing stations placed about every
    10 feet on patient floors.

    http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_12529868
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    About Anxious Patient

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,101; Likes: 1,979
    housewife and mother; from US

    7 Comments

  3. by   ElvishDNP
    We have handwashing auditors at our place too - mostly nurses. I don't think I need to say who the worst habitual offenders are.
  4. by   rkitty198
    I second that!

    I worked at a hospital where there was no sanitizing area for your stethescopes, and other nursing tools. I had to buy my own cleansing wipes, but they were not hospital grade. When we finally got some in, they were out in a day or so and we never got anymore in.

    Not to mention those carts (we had the COW's) and were supposed to take them into patients rooms to do assessments. Gross! Plus it didnt even fit in the rooms, let alone rolling around from room to room.
  5. by   Katnip
    This practice is called two-tiered, or sometimes multi-tiered auditing. As the IC nurse said, once the IC nurse shows up the rate of hand hygiene goes up. Until she leaves, then people tend to fall back into their old ways.

    It's becoming more and more common to be done this way in order to get a more accurate picture of compliance.
  6. by   Jamesdotter
    The more things change, the more they stay the same...

    Back in the 1970's, I worked in an old (built in 1913, I think) hospital which had had few upgrades and there were no sinks in the patient rooms. The Head Nurse prepared a cart with wash basins filled with an antiseptic solution for the doctors and med students to use during rounds. No one used it. This on an OB ward. Calling Dr. Semmelweiss...
  7. by   Valerie Salva
    Quote from Jamesdotter
    The more things change, the more they stay the same...

    Back in the 1970's, I worked in an old (built in 1913, I think) hospital which had had few upgrades and there were no sinks in the patient rooms. The Head Nurse prepared a cart with wash basins filled with an antiseptic solution for the doctors and med students to use during rounds. No one used it. This on an OB ward. Calling Dr. Semmelweiss...

    I wonder how many died as a direct result of the lack of sanitation at this hospital? I'd bet quite a few.

    In an outpt clinic, I saw a doc put down his sandwich to examine and physically touch a rash of a social worker's foot in the break room. He then went right back to eating his sandwich- without washing!

    Later, I saw him lift a dressing with bare hands to examine shingles on a pt's back. He then went straight over to the next room to see another pt. I chased after him with a can of antiseptic hand foam and told him "hold out your hands" then I foamed him. I then foamed the door handle. He was a nice guy who seemed to care about his pts but his total lack of hygeine said otherwise.
  8. by   Jamesdotter
    Quote from Valerie Salva
    I wonder how many died as a direct result of the lack of sanitation at this hospital? I'd bet quite a few.
    Actually, we had very few deaths and they were from preexisting conditions. I seem to remember giving a lot of antibiotics tho...
  9. by   clay07
    I worked on a surgical floor. There was this one surgeon whose pt's always came back to us with MRSA!!!!! Guaranteed! Heard horror stories about this man, didn't think it could be true until I started getting his patients. There were times after I found out he'd be my patients' surgeon, I felt like telling the pts to run, ask for another surgeon (didn't), but how do you handle stuff like that?

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