September 10, 2009
Hospital workers wash hands half the time
Dirty-handed hospital workers contribute to hospital-associated infections that kill nearly 100,000 Americans annually, a U.S. non-profit group says.
Officials at the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, affiliated with The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 16,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs, say failing to wash hands not only cause infections that kill 100,000 Americans, they cost U.S. hospitals up to $29 billion annually to combat.
Eight hospitals participating in the hand-washing initiative used the center's measurement methods and found, on average, that hospital personnel washed their hands less than 50 percent of the time.
Demanding that healthcare workers try harder is not the answer, Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president of The Joint Commission said in a statement.
A comprehensive approach is the only solution to preventing bad patient outcomes.
The targeted solutions being tested now include holding everyone accountable and responsible, using a reliable method to measure performance, improving communication, using real time performance feedback and tailoring education in proper hand hygiene for specific disciplines.