Deb Group, creators of the DebMed® Group Monitoring System™ (GMS) and a range of hand hygiene and sanitizer products, announces its support of the annual WHO Save Lives: Clean Your Hands Day. Recognized around the globe each year on May 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) campaign shines a light on the role of hand hygiene in combatting infection, this year specifically focusing on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR germs evolve as microorganisms are exposed to antimicrobial drugs and resistant traits are exchanged between certain types of bacteria, making them untreatable or uncontrollable. Adherence to proper hand hygiene recommendations from the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an excellent way to prevent the spread of AMR germs.
"To protect ourselves from the threat of drug-resistant germs, we must aim to decrease the transmission of disease-causing organisms – in our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and in healthcare settings – and the key element to do so is improved hand hygiene," says Heather McLarney, vice president, marketing for DebMed. "On May 5 and every day, Deb and DebMed encourage hospital staff, patients, and general consumers around the globe to be empowered by knowing the facts, and practicing proper hand hygiene to keep themselves and those they encounter safe."
According to the WHO, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide each year and more than 1.4 million people globally become seriously ill from such infections, estimating that 5 percent to 10 percent of patients admitted to hospitals in developed countries acquire HAIs, and in some developing countries, the proportion affected can exceed 25 percent. In the U.S., more than two million people acquire infections that are resistant to antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC.
As infections become resistant to standard medicines, healthcare costs can skyrocket from attempts to treat these illnesses with expensive therapies which usually entail longer, more complex hospital stays. To combat this, healthcare providers must concentrate on proper hand hygiene as the most effective way to reduce the risk of acquiring an infection, including those resistant to treatment.
This year, the WHO is supporting two global surveys for hospitals. The first is a survey on multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), to assess and raise awareness of the prevalence of the five main healthcare-associated MDROs that have been identified at the global level. The second is on the prescribing of antibiotics. By compiling relevant disease data and educating both providers and patients, the WHO calls all stakeholders to action: to take any and all steps to decrease the risk of bacteria transmission in healthcare settings.
In addition to the surveys, the WHO has also provided a new poster for hospitals to download highlighting the role of hand hygiene to combat AMR germs. Resources are available at www.debgroup.com and http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en/.
To better educate patients, Deb and DebMed are encouraging everyone to visit www.cleanhandsforhealth.com, a website created to educate everyone on the impact of clean hands on health. It informs patients about the proper hand hygiene protocols for them and for their doctors and nurses, along with the dangers of hospital-associated infections. In conjunction with May 5, DebMed has added Facts and Myths related to antimicrobial resistance and hand hygiene, including better education of the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene.
In support of the WHO, Deb and DebMed participate in the WHO's Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS), a collaborative initiative of private sector advocates designed to reduce healthcare-associated infections through improvements in hand hygiene. POPS' strategic goal is to increase hand hygiene education and awareness, and improve access to resources such as soap, water and hand sanitizer throughout the world, especially in countries with limited resources.
Hand hygiene best practices include that staff, patients and visitors must wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or use alcohol-based sanitizer. DebMed's electronic hand hygiene monitoring technology provides automated, accurate feedback on healthcare worker hand hygiene compliance to help reduce healthcare-associated infections.
DebMed customer Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill., will join the company in support of this year's May 5 campaign.
"Using the DebMed® GMS™ to monitor staff hand hygiene activity and adhering to the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene, we have taken the extra steps to increase hand hygiene compliance, limit the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and keep our patients safer every day of the year. We support the global WHO May 5 Save Lives: Clean Your Hands Day, and encourage all patients and care providers to do their part to know the facts about proper hand hygiene," says Shawnna Cunning, RN, MSN, PhD, FNP-C, director of nursing at Riverside Medical Center.