Strategic Dispenser Placement is Important for Hand Hygiene in Hospitals


Healthcare professionals take pride in taking the best possible care of their patients. An important duty is to practice good hand hygiene in order to minimize cross-contamination and the spread of healthcare-associated infections. World Hand Hygiene Day, May 5, is aimed at supporting healthcare professionals in achieving and maintaining high hand hygiene compliance. Research shows that hand hygiene dispensers have an impact on compliance rates. To help healthcare institutions maximize positive hygiene impact, SCA and its global hygiene brand Tork® have created visual inspiration for supporting hospitals in dispenser placement decisions.

What matters most isn’t putting up more dispensers, but making sure they are correctly placed. In fact, studies show that optimizing dispenser placement can increase usage by more than 50 percent, and that simply increasing the number of dispensers has a smaller impact on usage than keeping the same number of dispensers but making them more prominently visible.

“Nurses can walk miles during a single shift; they shouldn’t have to go out of their way to get to the hand hygiene dispenser” said Tom Bergin, marketing director for the AfH Professional Hygiene business at SCA North America.

Every hospital is unique; to truly optimize dispenser placement a work-flow study is needed. However, these inspirational guides can help with some general principles. The information in the placement guide is based on both SCA-sponsored research and independent findings from academic research. The guide is built around visualizations of four common types of areas commonly found in hospitals. The visualizations suggest possible dispenser placements which support hand hygiene compliance with the important WHO 5 Moments in mind.

The hospital entrance

Few visitors perform hand hygiene when entering the hospital. Solutions in the entrance could be important for supporting and educating visitors.
• Position the dispenser in a clearly visible location near the entrance
• Provide clear and simple information about hand hygiene directed at visitors

The semi-private patient room                                                                                                                                                    

This type of room requires more than one dispenser to provide enough convenience in use.
• Consistent and familiar locations in every room eliminate the need to look for dispensers – in one study, dispensers located near sinks and at the entrance of the room were used more frequently.
• Consider placing dispensers near each patient so that caregiver focus on the patient can be maintained during the entire interaction.

The private patient room                                                                                                                                                

Dispensers that are clearly visible and located where care is frequently performed will be used more.
• Install dispensers on “walking routes”; avoid placing dispensers out of the way, behind objects or out of sight.
• Dispensers should be immediately visible when entering the room

The nursing station 


Nurses need to perform very frequent hand hygiene. Therefore, the nurse station should offer excellent hand hygiene possibilities.
• Many patient care episodes begin or end at the nursing station; dispensers placed near the station entrance are usually conveniently placed on a walking route
• In an SCA-sponsored study, dispensers placed by the nurse station were used more frequently than dispensers placed on the wall behind patient beds.

Source: SCA

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