Each year, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement works to bring together and engage healthcare professionals and patients to help spread the important message of patient safety. This message is amplified during Patient Safety Awareness Week, which this year began on March 11th and runs through Saturday, March 17th.
The theme for this year’s week focuses on encouraging patients and providers to speak up for patient safety. As an infection preventionist, I have always believed that everyone plays a role in infection prevention. One way in which everyone – patient, visitor and healthcare professional – can participate in infection prevention is by practicing good hand hygiene.
Hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures we can all take to reduce the spread of infection.
- For patients, not only can they make sure to either wash or sanitize their hands at key moments, such as prior to eating, prior to touching invasive devices, or after using the restroom, but they can also ask questions about their care and ask their healthcare providers and visitors to clean their hands.
- Visitors oftentimes feel helpless when their loved one is undergoing a medical test or has been admitted to the hospital. Practicing hand hygiene is one small thing they can do to help contribute to making the patient better.
- Healthcare professionals should practice hand hygiene as well as encourage both their colleagues, patients and visitors to do the same.
Learn more about this year’s Patient Safety Awareness week at: http://www.unitedforpatientsafety.org/patient_safety_awareness_week