Survey Shows Handwashing Awareness Affects Patient Experience


SCA, the producer of the Tork® brand of Away-from-Home professional hygiene products, announces findings from a U.S. patient survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, revealing that 93 percent of healthcare facility patients and visitors agree that hand hygiene is more important in healthcare settings compared to other public places.

Of the respondents, all of whom had visited a healthcare facility over the past year, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) are concerned about acquiring a healthcare associated infection (HAI) – an infection obtained from being at a healthcare facility. Likewise, 96 percent of respondents agree that they would be concerned if healthcare professionals were not practicing good hand hygiene, while similar proportions further agree that they would not want to be treated by a healthcare professional who does not practice good hand hygiene (96 percent).

The survey was conducted in conjunction with the launch of the Tork Healthy Hands website, a new resource for healthcare facilities, providing free materials to promote hand hygiene compliance because proper hand hygiene is the number one way to reduce infections in healthcare facilities. The site features a variety of hand hygiene insights, statistics and reminders, as well as a selection of visual designs. Healthcare facilities can select a design style, choose the information to be featured, and add their own logo to build out free, customized hand hygiene signage.

The site will be regularly refreshed with new designs and information, enabling hospitals, doctors' offices, and long-term care facilities to frequently update hand hygiene signage. Changing up hand hygiene communications on a regular basis keeps messages from wearing out with employees, ultimately helping hand hygiene protocol to stay top of mind, increasing compliance and reducing HAIs.

"In today's healthcare environment one of the biggest contributors to slipping bottom lines are HAIs, as they are extremely expensive for facilities due to readmissions, length of stay, and other direct and indirect costs, as well as reducing Medicare reimbursements," says Tom Bergin, healthcare marketing director for SCA's Away from Home Professional Hygiene business in North America. "SCA's aim is to help institutions reduce HAIs by providing free resources on the Tork Healthy Hands site to keep staff educated on hand hygiene protocol, and, therefore, reduce incidence of HAIs."

While hand hygiene may be an obvious patient consideration, a surprising number of patients and visitors also agreed that hand washing signage plays a role in how they view a facility's safety and quality of care. Specifically, handwashing signage makes them feel more confident about both a facility's cleanliness (84 percent) and the quality of care being given (81 percent). Similarly, 83 percent say they would prefer to visit a healthcare facility that displays handwashing signage over one that does not. While the presence of signage has a positive impact, the lack of it can have a negative one; nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) feel that not seeing hand washing signage makes them feel like the healthcare facility does not follow best hygiene practices.

When asked what types of messages are most important for handwashing signage at healthcare facilities to communicate, reminders to employees (doctors, nurses, clinical staff) to wash their hands (69 percent) take the lead, followed by a message about the importance of washing hands (52 percent). Two in five emphasize the importance of having information about how to properly wash hands (45 percent). The Tork Healthy Hands website offers content to cover all these topics, designed to create hand hygiene signage to improve patient perception and experience, as well as improving employee compliance. 

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on commission by SCA April 3-6, 2015. For the survey, a sample of 1,212 U.S. adults age 18 and over was interviewed online, including 1,080 respondents who have visited or were a patient at a healthcare facility in the past year.

Source: SCA

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