Saint Francis Medical Center wants to remind everyone on its campus of the importance of hand hygiene. The Clean Hand Jive campaign at Saint Francis, which kicked off in June, attempts to promote proper hand washing techniques in a fun, engaging manner – for staff, patients and visitors.
The Clean Hand Jive video, featuring members of the Saint Francis Family, may be viewed on televisions around the Medical Center. It is also available online, at www.sfmc.net and on YouTube and Facebook. Fliers and posters are visible around the Medical Center campus – at entrances and in the elevators – as frequent reminders of the importance of hand hygiene. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness – at home, school, and work.
“Proper hand washing can prevent infection and illness from spreading,” says Gayla Tripp, BSN, RN, CIC, infection control nurse at Saint Francis. “We have known for more than 150 years that it is important wash our hands when providing patient care. However, hand washing is not reserved for healthcare facilities only. It is important to perform appropriate hand hygiene at home, too.”
Many household tasks should be accompanied with proper hand washing. “The basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry; before eating; after changing diapers; after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose into a tissue; after using the bathroom; and after touching animals or anything in the animal’s environment,” she says.
With a new school year quickly approaching, it is important for children to know how to wash their hands correctly. “Many infectious illnesses start with children, who often do not wash their hands as well as they should,” says Tripp.
The CDC has recommendations for proper hand washing available on its website, www.cdc.gov:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing your hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
- Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast-acting. When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.