Hand Hygiene | Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

Hand Hygiene

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Here at Hutch Regional, we maintain and encourage strict hygiene for all employees, physicians and visitors. Hand washing stations are available in every patient room, cafeteria, and throughout the hospital. Staff is instructed to disinfect their hands upon entering and when leaving a patient’s room. A strict adherence to this policy has been proven to slash the infection rate by as much as 50 percent. Visitors to Hutch Regional are reminded through posters to participate in the “foam in foam out” hand hygiene campaign.

Five facts about hand hygiene

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing can prevent one in three diarrhea-related illnesses and one in five infections, including the flu.
  • About 1.4 million children under age five die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia — the two most deadly afflictions for children worldwide.
  • The CDC reports that only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women washed their hands after using a public restroom.
  • Using antibiotics creates antibiotic resistance. Handwashing prevents many illnesses, so people need less antibiotics. Therefore, less antibiotic resistance.
  • A typical human sneeze exits the body at about 200 miles per hour and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air.

When should you clean your hands?

  • After using the restroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching hospital surfaces such as bed rails, bedside tables, doorknobs, remote controls, or the phone
  • Before preparing or eating food
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Before and after changing wound dressings or bandages

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.

Hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. It's quick and simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick.