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Handwashing: "Not Observed"

Mike Mann's picture

Health department inspectors feed operator complacency

Handwashing is respected by most all caregivers to some degree, whether in the kitchens, patient areas or resident rooms. Lip service is at 100% while compliance is more likely around 25%-40%.

Check out this report sent our way from a Canadian experience that we believe may be widespread but unreported in the USA. We know of the common practice to check the handsinks for residual traces of water as an indicator of handwashing and deserving of a checked “yes” box in some jurisdictions.

CBC News, by Priscilla Hwang, July 15, 2016,

Contrast this passive view versus those hospitals now starting to use real-time data to motivate and reward good handwashing behaviors. Inspectors look at monitors with live data, no need to stick around and wait to observe a single handwash. Handwashing becomes a process along with controls and engages management in tracking and rewarding those teams consistently operating within safe levels.