Getting Smart About Your Hospital Stay: Hand Washing

I currently have two patients that contacted me due to patient safety issues.  Both had problems as a result of post surgical infection while in the hospital.  The infections became life threatening and the families contacted me to assist them in getting proper care and getting answers.

I want to give some very simple advise for patients and families when a loved one is hospitalized.  Make sure everyone who touches your loved one or objects in the room, washes their hands first or has a new pair of gloves on.  It is so simple but one of the most powerful tools available to keep infection away.  In most hospitals there are signs everywhere about washing your hands but people including doctors get busy and forget sometimes when entering a room.

Do not feel you are pushy or aggressive.  Hospital acquired infections kill people. The medical staff will know that you are serious and informed.   It is important to be pro active and insistent.  I suggest to families to bring proper hand sanitizer and anti bacterial wipes to clean surfaces.

Hospitals have quality assurance people who oversee patient safety.  If you feel that the medical staff is not following through on your request, then contact the office of quality assurance.  Hospital administrators take this very seriously because the state and federal governments track how many patient safety incidents there are.  Nobody wants to be known for having too many hospital acquired infections.

Don’t worry about any one’s ego.  Be concerned only about the safety and well being of your loved one.  Make sure everyone is washing their hands every time.