Bermuda Hospitals Board Joins over 11,500 other Hospitals World-Wide in Renewing Commitment to Clean Hands Campaign

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today joins with over 11,500 other hospitals around the world today in renewing commitment to a World Health Organization promotion to save lives by cleaning hands.

The global campaign called “SAVE LIVES Clean Your Hands” focuses on promoting effective hand hygiene in hospitals. Bermuda Hospitals Board has low levels of hospital-acquired infections compared to international standards. Infection rates are monitored by the Board each month, and the BHB Infection Control team is led by one of Bermuda’s only certified Infection Prevention Professionals, Ms Linda Rothwell.

“It is important for us all to understand the importance of effective hand hygiene,” says Mrs Rothwell. “Anyone coming into the hospital as a patient, visitor, vendor or BHB employee can be spread potentially infectious bacteria or viruses. When you visit your loved one in hospital, for example, you should wash your hands before and after visiting. And if you are visiting multiple people, wash your hands in between each visit and then as you leave.”

Although it seems basic, effective hand hygiene can mean the difference between life and death. But it has to be effective hand washing – which is more thorough than many people may realise.

“From MRSA to the H1N1 Flu, hand washing kills infectious bacteria and viruses that make us ill,” adds Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, Quality & Risk. “But it has to be effective hand washing. A few seconds under the tap will not get rid of all the potentially infectious organisms. The World Health Organization recommends that from the moment you turn on the tap it should take a total of 40 to 60 seconds of to clean you hands with soap and water and 20 to 30 seconds for hand gel. We’ll be putting up signs to show the correct technique and timing so that people can save lives by washing their hands properly. ”

As part of the campaign, BHB’s Senior Management Team joined with staff in signing a 6 foot hand in the KEMH lobby on Wednesday 3 May 2010, and providing educational materials.

CEO David Hill comments: “We are committed to hand hygiene every day, but this International Campaign is an opportunity to talk about its importance in stopping the spread of colds, flu and potentially life-threatening bacteria. Often handwashing is overlooked as it is such an easy and simple thing to do, but it saves lives. Patients need to know it is their right to ask if their health care provider or even visitor has cleaned his or her hands before they touch them. Whether you are nurse, doctor or housekeeper at the hospital, or a mum, dad, or friend visiting a loved one, there’s only one thing we want to spread today and that is the message that clean hands save lives.”


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