Hygiene Measures In The Hospital

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Hygiene Measures In The Hospital
Hygiene Measures In The Hospital

Video: Hygiene Measures In The Hospital

Video: Hygiene Measures In The Hospital
Video: Environmental Hygiene: Best Practices to Use When Cleaning and Disinfecting Patient Rooms 2023, March

Hygiene in the hospital

Hospital stays are sometimes unavoidable. However, they are also associated with some risk of infection. On the one hand, many patients have a weakened immune system, on the other hand, they are confronted with a significantly different spectrum of germs in hospitals than in their everyday life or in a doctor's office.

This results in an overall increased susceptibility to so-called nosocomial infections. One of the most important preventive measures is consistent hand hygiene - both by hospital staff and by patients and visitors.


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  • What are hospital infections?
  • Which transmission routes are there?
  • Tips on hand hygiene in the hospital

What are hospital infections?

A nosocomial infection is an infection with local or systemic signs of infection that occurs after an inpatient or outpatient medical procedure and has not existed before. About 80 percent of all nosocomial infections are caused by bacteria (especially Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, enterococci), the rest by viruses and fungi. Many of these pathogens belong to the normal bacterial flora of healthy people and are completely harmless to them. However, they can sometimes cause life-threatening diseases such as sepsis, urinary tract infections or respiratory tract infections in sick people or those with weakened immune systems.

Nosocomial pathogens that are resistant to certain antibiotics are problematic. This means that the antibiotics are ineffective against these pathogens and infections caused by resistant pathogens are difficult to treat. Methicillin resistance, for example, means that antibiotics such as beta-lactams (penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems) that are otherwise effective and have few side effects are not effective. Therefore, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can cause serious infections such as sepsis and pneumonia. Multi-resistant germs are even resistant to several groups of antibiotics and are therefore particularly difficult to treat.

Note Nosocomial infections can prolong the length of stay in hospital and sometimes cause death.

Which transmission routes are there?

Nosocomial infections or hospital pathogens can be transmitted in different ways:

  • Hands of staff, patients or visitors, e.g. through treatments or shaking hands. Therefore, careful hand hygiene is the most important measure to prevent infection.
  • Reusable medical devices: e.g. stethoscope, clinical thermometer, catheter, ventilation or dialysis machine,
  • Surfaces: e.g. doorknobs, bottles, sinks, ice cubes, flowers.

Tips on hand hygiene in the hospital

In order to minimize the risk of nosocomial infections, the hospital staff is obliged to strictly adhere to hygiene measures.

The World Health Authority (WHO) propagates "five indications of hand hygiene":

  • before patient contact,
  • before aseptic (sterile) activities on the patient (e.g. inserting a catheter),
  • after contact with potentially infectious material such as body fluids (e.g. saliva, blood) or excretions (urine, stool),
  • after patient contact,
  • after contact with the immediate patient environment.

On the one hand, patients can ensure that these recommendations are followed by hospital staff. In addition, you and your visitors can make a significant contribution to preventing infections, particularly through hand hygiene.

When should patients clean their hands:

Patients should clean their hands:

  • after using the toilet,
  • before the meal,
  • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Visitors should clean their hands:

  • upon arrival at the hospital,
  • before and after a patient visit.

How patients should clean their hands:

  • generally with alcohol-based disinfectants

    • Follow the directions for use on the container.
    • Rub your hands against each other and spread the solution over the entire surface of the hands, between the fingers and under the fingernails.
    • Rub the solution until your hands are dry.

Detailed recommendation of the WHO with a schematic representation for careful hand disinfection:

In the event of visible contamination or known Clostridium difficile infection, clean with soap and water:

  • Rub your hands with a portion of soap until foam has formed and spread this over the entire surface of the hands, between the fingers and under the fingernails.
  • Rub in the foam for at least 15 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands carefully under running water.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel or a clean (roll) cloth towel.

Detailed recommendation of the WHO with a schematic representation for careful hand washing:

Note Sick people should avoid hospital visits so that they do not expose patients to unnecessary risk of infection!

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