Hand sanitizers assist battle against diseases

November 19, 2014   ·   0 Comments

With illnesses like Ebola, the H1N1 and SARS making the headlines over the last few years, talking about hygiene and how it can act as one of the preventive measures has become important. That’s part of why the Germgo Media Group took their ‘Clean Hands Challenge’ to the road this year, visiting about 40 hospitals across Ontario.

“The ‘Clean Hands Challenge’ is primarily a challenge to encourage people to remember to clean their hands,” explained Germgo president Reg Littlefield. “A lot of people don’t realize how thorough you need to be in washing your hands, making sure you get the backs, and in between your fingers each time you wash.”

Germgo are the manufacturers behind the unique, new system of hand-sanitzer units placed in most hospitals. The units, which are installed at no cost to the hospitals, are paid for by advertising and shared with the hospitals.

The challenge swept into Orangeville at the Headwaters Health Care Centre on October 20, as one of their final stops along the path. Ambassadors from Germgo joined Mr. Littlefield to encourage everyone entering the hospital to clean their hands at one of the sanitizer stations.

Each hand washing registers on an electronic counter, and is added to the total number of hands washed across the province throughout the challenge.

“You can’t clean your hands enough, and people oftentimes get familiar with the machines that are there and then they forget about it; they kind of become part of the furniture,” said Mr. Littlefield. “Even though the signs are there to wash their hands, people tend to stop noticing them.”

Unlike the typical hand sanitizer stations, which are attached to the wall, Germgo’s are a station of themselves, with a ledge for people to put coffees, purses, or anything else in their hands down to wash their hands more easily.

“That’s really important, because when you have a wall unit, there is nowhere to put down whatever is in your hands,” he said. “You’re either not going to wash your hands properly or you’re not going to do it at all. If you make it really convenient, put it in people’s path, it reminds them and they’re more likely to use it.”

The challenge fit in well with Headwaters’ vision to provide an exceptional experience every time for patients, visitors and staff. Part of fulfilling that vision means ensuring they are following the best health practices and moving toward continuous improvement.

“Last year we set some goals for hand hygiene, and we measure that through monthly audits,” explained Sandy Critchley, Director of Quality Practice and Patient Services at Headwaters. “The challenge is really a lot of fun for everybody, and helps increase awareness about hygiene.”

Headwaters hand hygiene data is published for the public on the hospital’s website, and remains as the number one priority for hospitals across Ontario.

“Hand hygiene is really easy for everyone to participate in,” said Ms. Critchley. “We try to make the alcohol-based hand rub available everywhere in the hospital, and our staff members go through significant training on their role in infectious disease management and the effective hygiene they need to conduct.”

Next year, Germgo hopes to grow the challenge across Canada, seeing even more hospitals participate and getting more hands washed.

“The challenge is encouraging to people, because the electronic counter goes up every time they wash their hands, and we give them a sticker to wear,” said Mr. Littlefield. “They get to feel like they are contributing to the hospital and helping raise awareness.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.