Handwashing is one of the most effective ways of removing harmful germs from your hands. Unfortunately, the importance of hand hygiene is not always understood and can be often overlooked.
A recent study by French scientists published in the American Journal of Infection Control, revealed that infection prevention practices focused on hand hygiene protocols could save lives across all healthcare facilities, especially in care homes.
It is very important to practice good hand hygiene in nursing homes. Residents often have underlying health issues and are therefore more vulnerable to infections. The study revealed that improving hand hygiene in care homes can have a positive effect on the health of residents.
Table of Contents
Care Home Hygiene Study Findings
The study carried out was a 12 month randomised controlled trial. Researchers assessed 26 French nursing homes and randomly assigned an intervention group to half of the nursing homes and a control group to the other half.
The intervention group were charged with improving hand hygiene through education and increasing the availability of hand sanitiser. The controlled group were to change nothing about the current hand hygiene processes being followed in their care homes.
At the end of the study, the data showed that implementing clear protocols that prompted care home staff, residents and visitors to wash their hands regularly and properly was linked to reducing antibiotic prescription rates. The number of antibiotic prescription rates were lower in the intervention group than the control group1, proving that enforcing better hand hygiene standards had a positive impact on the health of the care homes residents.
Janet Haas, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and a qualified nurse, stated that ‘this research demonstrates that a sustained education programme focused on hand hygiene can improve practices and may reduce the risk of infection among nursing home patients.”
It is clear that enforcing proper hand hygiene in nursing homes is beneficial, but to do this requires action to be taken to improve both education and hygiene facilities.
How To Improve Hand Hygiene In Care Homes
For hand hygiene in care homes to be improved successfully it is important to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing and to offer the necessary facilities to allow people to wash their hands properly.
Hand Hygiene Education
Educating care home staff, residents and visitors is essential to make sure that they understand why proper hand hygiene is important. Once this has been done, it is then vital to make sure people know how to wash their hands.
Washing your hands may sound like a simple process, but research by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society revealed that 84% of adults in the UK do not wash their hands for long enough to effectively remove germs.2 It is therefore vitally important to take the time to promote hand hygiene with educational posters and events to ensure that people know how to wash their hands effectively.
Citron Hygiene provide free handwashing posters, which demonstrate how to correctly wash your hands with soap and hand sanitiser. Placing posters like these around the care home premises will help to educate and act as a reminder to care home staff, visitors and residents about how to wash their hands and why they need to do so.
Providing Effective Hand Hygiene Facilities
Once people understand why and how to wash their hands, the next step is to provide convenient hygiene facilities to make it as efficient as possible for people to wash their hands.
There are a number of cost-effective ways to provide hygiene facilities. Hand sanitiser dispensers can be located around the care home, offering a quick and convenient way to sanitise your hands, killing 99.9% of bacteria.
In addition, make sure that you provide hygienic washroom facilities by providing soap dispensers that are professionally managed to ensure they are refilled and are never empty. Damp hands spread germs, so ensure that effective hand drying facilities are provided using hand dryers or paper towels.
Hand Hygiene Can Make A Big Difference
The results of the study into care homes reveals just how important hand hygiene is for reducing the spread of harmful germs. If you manage a care home, then make sure you are taking the necessary steps to improve hygiene standards.
If you would like to find out more about how Citron Hygiene can help improve hygiene facilities in your nursing home or healthcare facility, then please contact a member of our team.