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Hospitals / Extended & Long Term Care Facilities

Solutions for saving lives

The cost of an infection is not just the bottom line, but may cost someone their life. Over two million people acquire infections as a result of their hospital stay with improper hand hygiene as a major culprit. Of these preventable infections, the Hand Hygiene Resource Center (HHRC) suggests 90,000 hospital patients die and total medical expenses for these preventable infections are estimated at $4.5 billion. Average healthcare personnel hand hygiene compliance rates are only at 40%.

Approximately 15 million Americans are currently using long term facilities and with the baby boomer population aging, this number will only increase. Long term care facilities generate between 1.64 and 3.83 million infections per year causing 23,800 deaths annually. Similar to hospitals, the infection rate can drop dramatically by implementing a hand hygiene program that includes the use of the alcohol free AQtiv PURE Hand & Body Sanitizer Gel. Precious time is allocated to patient care as you take 15 seconds to use the sanitizer gel versus over one minute per washing using soap and water. With no concerns about flammability, dispensers can be placed conveniently in patient rooms, hallways, nursing stations, staff lounges, cafeteria and food preparation areas, and public restrooms.

Top 12 Most Common Infectious Diseases preventable by effective hand washing:

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

  • Shigellosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • E.coli 0157:H7
  • Salmonellosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Common Cold
  • Influenza
  • Giardiasis
  • Impetigo
  • Fifth Disease
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink-Eye)
  • Enterobiasis (Pinworms)

Once germs are on your hands, they can get an all access pass to your body by the food and water you ingest and by touching your mouth, nose, eyes or any open sore. Bottom Line: Lives are saved with consistent good hand hygiene.

- Alcohol sanitizers compared with Napalm

Below are portions of an article written in Forensic Nurse August 2004 and can be found at the following website:

Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers, A Blessing or Hazardous Material?

By Marian Beck Clore, RN, BSN, ICP

“ Healthcare providers are recognizing that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an effective alternative to washing hands with soap and water. When alcohol-based hand soap dispensers are conveniently located, more frequent hand cleansing is encouraged, less time is required and better compliance is promoted. Some facilities support the idea of mounting liquid hand sanitizing containers onto walls between patient rooms, near patient beds, in dirty utility rooms, etc. Bottles of hand sanitizers are kept in other easy-to-reach places, such as patient bedside stands, or healthcare workers (HCWs)' pockets. The problem? Alcohol-based gels, foams and liquids are extremely flammable and are classified as hazardous materials.”

“ Inquiries to the local fire department revealed that the fire codes approve hand-sanitizing products that are packaged and labeled according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. These products should be stored as any other flammable liquid would. Fire department officials were extremely surprised to hear that liquid hand sanitizers were so widely used, and at the same time, so highly flammable.”

“ While not statistically validated, experimentation was performed using six bottles of hand sanitizing gels, foams and liquids. The MSDS sheets for these products listed the flammability ratings of "3" and "4" (extremely flammable). Ignition testing produced the following results: Instantaneous combustion occurred; there was visible heat radiation, with no actual flame; and boiling was evident and visible. The facility fire inspector stated that he compared the combustion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to that of napalm, as both have very similar ingredients and burning patterns.”

Marian Beck Clore, RN, BSN, ICP, is the infectious disease/safety coordinator for the Michigan Department of Corrections, Duane L. Waters Hospital in Jackson, Mich.


References supporting current requirements related to artificial nails and nail polish

Conclusion taken from (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2000;21:505-509).

“Artificial fingernails were more likely to harbor pathogens, especially gram-negative bacilli and yeasts, than native nails. The longer artificial nails were worn, the more likely that a pathogen was isolated. Current recommendations restricting artificial fingernails in certain healthcare settings appear justified.”

Baumgardner CA et al. 1993. Effects of nail polish on microbial grown of fingernails. AORN J 58(4): 84-88

Research suggested chipped nail polish supports higher levels of organisms on fingernails compared to freshly polished or natural nails. Dark colored nail polish was also mentioned as a potential problem that can inhibit visibly and removal of dirt and debris under fingernails.

RESOURCES – California Healthcare Foundation - Health care costs Summary - American Society for Microbiology hand washing campaign - Current status of fire hazard problem with alcohol sanitizers - Kansas Department of Health & Environment Wash Em’ UP brochures, posters, stickers - Soap & Detergent Association - September 19-26, 2004 National Clean Hands Week Resources - Posters, see Germstopper PDF file for facts and guidelines - Posters, games, facts & links - American Society for Microbiology hand washing campaign - Hand Hygiene Resource Center Powerpoint presentations