As a part of World Hygiene Day on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new campaign to promote good hand-hygiene habits for healthcare professionals and patients.
The "Clean Hands Count" campaign, according to the CDC's announcement, promotes compliance by addressing myths about hand hygiene and encourages patients to ask healthcare providers to wash their hands if they do not see them do so before treatment.
"We know that patients can feel hesitant to speak up, but they are important members of the healthcare team and should expect clean hands from providers," Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., CDC's associate director for healthcare-associated infection prevention programs, said in the announcement. "We know that healthcare providers want the best for their patients, so we want to remind them that the simple step of cleaning their hands protects their patients."
The CDC is offering a variety of promotional materials for both professionals and patients online, including fact sheets and brochures, to help spread the "Clean Hands Count" message.
Doctors and nurses, on average, clean their hands less than half the number of times they should throughout the day, according to the announcement. More than 722,000 healthcare-associated infections occur in hospitals annually, the CDC said, and approximately 75,000 patients with these infections die during their hospital stays. The first step in preventing these illnesses is proper hand washing.
"Patients depend on their medical team to help them get well, and the first step is making sure healthcare professionals aren't exposing them to new infections," CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., said in the announcement "Clean hands really do count and in some cases can be a matter of life and death."
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