Did you know that 80% of infections are spread by touch? Unfortunately we still get hospital visitors not cleaning their hands when visiting relatives, despite the gel dispensers and posters around the hospital.
To counteract this, eight Hygiene Handles have been fitted at Queen Alexandra Hospital within the maternity, neonatal intensive care and haematology outpatient units for a prolonged trial.
The Hygiene Handle has been developed by a local Portsmouth company, Pure Hold Ltd, in conjunction infection prevention experts from QA, with the objective of increasing hand hygiene awareness and compliance.
“It is a pull-door handle which automatically dispenses sanitising gel directly onto your hand when you open the door. The innovative design ensures that every person who grips the sanitising door handle as they enter an area cleans their hands, every time,” says Matt Roberts, Director of Pure Hold Ltd.
Matthew Richardson, Senior Infection Prevention Nurse at QA says, “When we are healthy our immune systems help protect us, however it is important that we find ways to stop these bugs getting into hospital wards where there are vulnerable patients. What people may not realise is that potentially harmful bacteria exist everywhere.”
A trial was done at QA and Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital late 2011, and now the handles are being rolled out nationally across hospitals all over the UK. Results showed a significant increase in hand hygiene when entering wards, and both patients and staff wanted to see more installed around the hospital.
“Hand hygiene remains a major issue for hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Infections such as MRSA, norovirus and flu unwittingly brought in to the hospital by visitors are readily spread by touch, with potentially dangerous consequences for vulnerable patients and the increased risk of staff sickness and ward closures, something seen extensively across the country this winter. The Hygiene Handle is a simple and effective method to help combat this and compliance rates show it is working, with staff and visitors positive about its introduction,” comments Matt Roberts.
The handles increase awareness of the importance of clean hands; raise standards of hand hygiene (in conjunction with existing hand washing policies); reduce cross contamination (unlike traditional door handles).