Community

Hands come clean for hygiene

From the left, Whidbey General RN’s Barb Lett, Karen Carlson and Katie Delacruz display hygiene techniques at Coupeville Elementary School, such as the proper way to sneeze.  - Submitted photo
From the left, Whidbey General RN’s Barb Lett, Karen Carlson and Katie Delacruz display hygiene techniques at Coupeville Elementary School, such as the proper way to sneeze.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Whidbey General Hospital continues to promote the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infection.

“Hand hygiene has come to the international forefront because the simple act of cleaning hands is powerful when it comes to reducing the risk of spreading disease and death,” said Trish Rose, hospital spokeswoman.

The hospital’s staff, clinics, medical staff and volunteers have all endorsed this movement. Together, they have developed a hand hygiene campaign.

“All staff, whether clinical or non-clinical play an important part,” Rose said. “They have been incredibly proactive in how to best exceed the guidelines so that each area of the facility can promote and protect the overall wellness of our community. They have embraced a slogan of, ‘every clean hand counts.’ Though hand hygiene has always played an important part in health care, it is clear that it now must be weighted as a high priority.”

According to a news release from the hospital, many people ask whether an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is equal to or better than washing your hands with soap and water. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states sanitizer is equally effective unless your hands are visibly soiled or after using the restroom. In that case, you would choose soap and water. It is also important to remember that 20 seconds is the amount of time needed when using the soap and water method.

This fall Whidbey General Hospital has been present at the EMS open house, Tour de Whidbey, Bayview Senior Center, Oak Harbor Senior Center, and numerous school classrooms up and down the island. They have provided hands-on demonstrations of just how effective cleaning your hands can be.

A special box is used to illuminate your hands both before and after cleaning. There is no doubt to those who have participated, clean hands can save lives. Across the age spectrum this has been a fun and easy way to learn and how, as a community, when we work together we can prevent the spread of disease.

Recently, at a meeting of The Washington State Hospital Association, Whidbey General Hospital was honored with an award recognizing “Best Hands On Care” for 2009. Only 10 out of 133 Washington State hospitals were recipients of this award, with WGH winning two years in a row.

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