Persistent Hand Washing Protocols Reduce Infections in Virginia Hospitals

June 27, 2011

A recent press release by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) describes how four Virginia hospitals reduced healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by adding a persistent action plan to existing federal hand washing protocols.

VHHA Services, a subsidiary of VHHA, conducted a study of four Virginia hospitals to determine if the addition of a persistent hand sanitizing location and a persistent surface disinfectant to current hospital practices would reduce HAI rates. According to the press release, the products used, developed by Germ Pro Products, Inc, “offer continual, long-acting (persistent) effects that kill germs on hands for four hours and on surfaces for up to 28 days.”

Healthcare workers at the participating hospitals were told to apply the sanitizing lotion at the start of the workday and reapply every four hours. They were instructed to continue washing their hands or use an alcohol sanitizer as recommended in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand hygiene guidelines.

Environmental services employees were also given instructions. They were told to apply the surface disinfectant only to “touch points.” Rooms were disinfected following patient discharges. Hospital common areas were treated monthly.

The study ran for three months. It compared the HAI rates occurring during the study to three months prior to the study period.

Results indicated an average of 41.5 percent fewer infections per 1,000 patient days. Percentage reductions at each hospital were: 29.4, 32.4, 50, and 54.2 percent. VHHA estimates this represents 59 fewer infections and savings of $1.2 million in additional costs due to HAIs, reduced patient length-of-stay, and unnecessary readmissions.

Our Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates dropped significantly,” says Linda Sokos, MT, CIC, Danville Regional Medical Center. “Needless to say, the Infection Control Committee recommended that the [Germ Pro] products be adopted. Nursing leadership concurred and we are in the process of bringing them in-house in all of our patient care areas.”

Adds Rebecca Bartles, MPH, CIC, corporate manager, infection prevention department, Johnson City Medical Center, a member of Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), “During the trial, we observed a 32.4 percent reduction in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE), C. diff and multi-drug-resistant gram negative transmission rates. Although healthcare-acquired infections are often caused by multiple factors, this significant reduction indicates that a correlation may exist between these products and reduced environmental contamination. Additionally, we have observed a sustained decrease in infections at JCMC since the products were implemented in all areas. Based on these favorable results, MSHA facilities have implemented Germ Pro products system-wide.”

“The most unique aspect of the Germ Pro Hand Sanitizing Lotion is its ability to ‘persistently’ kill pathogens in between hand washings preventing staff from picking up and transmitting germs to the patient,” says David Jenkins, vice president, VHHA Services. “As an added benefit, the hypoallergenic lotion creates a protective hydrophobic polymeric layer over the skin that helps heal hands from the harsh effects of alcohol rubs and repeated hand washings. The need for the use of hand lotion to improve skin integrity as part of a comprehensive hand hygiene program has been well documented. As the lotion also helps reduce infections, multiple goals are achieved.”

As a result of the successful trial, 15 Virginia hospitals have adopted the Germ Pro persistent products for their infection prevention programs.

Click here to read the press release.

To learn more about Germ Pro Products, visit www.germproproducts.com.

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