Every corner of the hospital has prominent washbasins, hand washing stations and reminders to rinse regularly. And while healthcare professionals are being trained to clean up all the time, a new study shows that patients can overcome that responsibility.
Researchers at the University of Michigan tested 399 hospital patients and found that 14% of them had "superbug" antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils at the start of their hospital stay. They also tested items that are commonly used by patients, such as nurse buttons. Almost one third of these objects were also tested positively for such bacteria.
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Of those who did not have multi-drug resistant organisms on their hands and nostrils at the beginning of their stay, another 6% stopped appearing in the superbug later later during their stay.
The researchers also report that six patients in their study actually developed an infection with the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ̵
Thanks to the over-use of antibiotics and sanitary products, all three bacterial groups have been developed to cope with traditional treatment methods.
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"Hand hygiene story has largely focused on doctors, nurses and other frontline staff, and all policies and performance measurements have centered on them and rightly so" says Doctor Lona Mody, epidemiologist and patient safety researcher who led the study, which occurs in clinical infectious diseases. "But our results make an argument for managing the transfer of MDROs in a way that also involves patients."
It was worrying that a similar study presented in this month at the European Clinic of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) found that hospital staff
researchers registered 3 246 hours of hospital traffic in 18 ICUs across the country to observe when and how caregivers have switched from "dirty" to "clean" patient care tasks – and note all spaces between tasks where a hand wash could or should have been inserted.
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found that healthcare professionals washed their hands only half the time moving from a dirty task, such as managing the patient's body fluids, to a clean task, and just 43% of the time when moves from cleaner to dirty tasks. In addition, the staff were more likely to move from a dirty to a clean statement if gloves were to be worn, while the hand wash was less likely to occur.
"Infection prevention is everyone's activity," says Mody, reminding them inside and outside the hospital setting to "cleanse your hands often with good techniques – especially before and after cooking, before eating, after using a toilet and before and after caring for someone who is sick – to protect yourself and others. "
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