Medline Launches Hand Hygiene Compliance Program

In an effort to spark a change in healthcare professional hand hygiene practices, Medline Industries, Inc. announces the nationwide launch of its Hand Hygiene Compliance Program (HHCP) for hospitals and healthcare facilities. The program was introduced at the 35th annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) held in Denver in mid-June. 

"Most healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is spread by direct contact, especially via the hands of health workers, and data continues to support hand hygiene as the single most important way of reducing such infections," said Linda S. Johnson, MS, N, RN, CIC, infection control manager for the University of Missouri. "This program will be an important part of a healthcare provider's strategy to improve patient outcomes and reduce hospital costs related to HAIs."

As the No. 1 defense against healthcare-acquired conditions – it is estimated that handwashing alone could prevent 20,000 patient deaths per year – hand hygiene has an important role to play in the prevention of infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 2 million HAIs annually in the U.S., resulting in an estimated $30.5 billion in additional healthcare costs and more than 100,000 inpatient deaths. The federal Medicare program recently announced that beginning in October 2008 it will no longer reimburse for extra costs associated with certain types of HAIs acquired while the patient was receiving care, giving hospitals and healthcare facilities even more incentive to implement prevention measures such as hand hygiene compliance.

Studies have shown, however, that despite being a proven effective practice, hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers is poor, with the World Health Organization reporting an average compliance rate of 40 percent. Skin irritation and dryness caused by frequent hand washing with soap and water, as well as inadequate understanding of hand hygiene guidelines or protocols, are the most often cited reasons for noncompliance. Medline's comprehensive HHCP addresses these issues by combining its best-in-class products for improving skin condition and clinician-reviewed education to improve hand hygiene compliance while dramatically improving the skin condition of healthcare workers. 

About the HHCP Product Bundle

The regular use of products that help prevent skin irritation appreciably increases compliance to hand hygiene standards, which in turn contributes to lowering the nosocomial infection rate. All three Medline products in the HHCP product bundle are clinically proven to nourish dry skin:

— Sterillium Comfort Gel™ – This hand antiseptic has moisturizing technology, yet still delivers an alcohol level of 85 percent.  In addition, it significantly increases skin hydration after only one week of usage compared to untreated skin.

— Medline Remedy™ Products – These moisturizers, cleansers, protectants and antifungals all contain Olivamine®, a patented blend of ingredients that deliver essential nutrients necessary for optimal skin health, including amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and MSM.

— AloeTouch® Exam Gloves – Available in latex, vinyl, and nitrile, this glove has a special polymer inner coating that softens skin with pure freeze-dried aloe vera while providing protection against bloodborne pathogens.

In addition to the product bundle, the HHCP includes an intensive educational module developed by an expert panel of infection control professionals.

"The training is particularly useful because it focuses on translating research into practical guidance and tips for clinicians," said Elaine Larson, RN, PhD, currently the associate dean for research and professor of pharmaceutical and therapeutic research at Columbia University School of Nursing, and editor of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Healthcare workers can earn up to four continuing education credits by completing the training program. Additional components include testing for skill and competency validation through the use of Visirub and a UV light box. Patient education pamphlets, facility posters and a rewards program are also included to reinforce positive behavior change. To learn more about the Hand Hygiene Compliance Program, call 1-800-MEDLINE.

Source: Medline Industries