2016 is starting out as a potential watershed for hospital, nursing home and foodservice handwashing. Two high profile Norovirus outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants in 2015 were followed by two legal actions and a 35% drop in Chipotle’s stock price. Controlling Norovirus is highly dependent on good handwashing.
A Simi Valley California law suit was followed by a devastating New York District Court action raised by a concerned stockholder for failing to disclose that its “quality controls were inadequate to safeguard consumer and employee health.”
Sixteen years of formal and informal research has provided the Handwashing For Life Institute with a long list of reasons and excuses for low handwashing rates. Today caregivers may hear of their compliance rate being reported at 90% but in their heart of hearts know it is far short of the reported number.
Culture change is the only way Handwashing For Life Healthcare has found to convert time-hardened handwashing behaviors. Years of accepting low compliance now defines today's reality. Whatcha got is … who you are!
Years of training have produced waves of temporary peaks in performance. Training without standards has proven to be both frustrating and costly as gains slip back to the undeclared norm.
The shortage of actual data on handwashing compliance in healthcare has evolved into a serious industry-wide overstatement of compliance. Knowing good things happen once a 90% level is achieved, reported handwashing rates quickly climbed to that number.
Professional advancement and even bonuses are “earned”, institutionalizing a standard of bad behaviors. The Joint Commission's norm is clearly stated in their Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals. It says nothing about 90%.
Culture change is often cited as a requirement where hand washing rates need to be doubled to reach a safe level. The Atrio Restaurant in Carmel, Indiana, lead by Chef Peter Fulgenzi, took on that task, challenging his staff to accept their professional role in serving safe food and giving them a measurement tool to verify handwashing without filling in tedious logs.
For years, we listened to the arguments as UV-C emitters appeared on the scene, critical about shadowed areas and lack of clinical data. Then we watched and listened, realizing UV-C is not a stand-alone solution. Manual cleaning is the first and irreplaceable step with appropriate cleaner disinfectants and quality single-use paper towels followed by the UV treatment.
Evidence-based solutions are driven by facts. This is the lifeblood of most clinicians. But there are no facts when it comes to handwashing, no standards of quality or frequency. Thus, what should be the role of the clinicians in raising handwashing frequency which is largely a behavior change challenge?
Bedridden patients tend to wash their hand less because of the inconvenience. Their contaminated hands endanger themselves as well as their caregivers. Handwashing For Life Healthcare offers two suggestions to boost the power of alcohol hand sanitizers.
RubScrub™ is simply a handwash protocol without water.
The Handwashing For Life Scoreboard is a component of ECM, Electronic Compliance Monitoring. It is the scoreboard screen or marquee positioned in clear view of the staff work stations to assure as an indicator to the team of their current handwashing performance. Some technologies will report