Follow-up From Yesterday: Study Finds Health Care Employees More Likely to Put Gloves on Then Follow Proper Hand Hygiene

Yesterday, an alert blog follower sent me a very interesting article to report to everyone that was relevant in some of my older posts. Today, in almost ironic fashion, a study was released in the journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology further elaborating on the uncouth and lax protocol of hospital workers.

It found that health care providers who wear gloves are much less likely to wash their hands before and after treating their patients; something generally mandated by health care facilities. Further, the study noted that this corner cutting could spread infections in health care setting because some of the germs can actually get through the latex gloves or contaminate hands when the gloves are removed for the health care provider's hands.

While yesterday's article looked at the infection that resulted in intensive care units with infants when employees did not properly wash their hands, this study looked at more than seven-thousand elderly intensive care unit patients and their contact with health care providers; the complete opposite population but just as vulnerable. The findings concluded that proper hand hygiene compliance was forty-eight percent in a control, but when employees started to wear gloves it dropped to forty-one percent.

First, most notably, less than half of health care employees are following proper protocol as it is?! That is, frankly, SCARY. Second, if we have learned that some germs can go through latex and a danger still exists when you take them off, shouldn't trained health care professionals also know this?!

I agree with the authors of the study that health care workers need better education programs DURING their careers-like reminders-regarding hygiene and disease spreading prevention. A great resource would be through CME (continuing medical education) programs. Additionally, there should be more internal penalties for those employees caught not following the proper procedures.

Finally, if internally there is still no reaction or change for employees, there NEEDS to be more local or state oversight in creating penalties for these individuals. This cannot continue! All it takes is a mass infection where many patients-particularly the young or elderly-get sick and pass away will there be change. That step needs to be skipped, and we need to take action now!

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.
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