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Handwashing Awarenessm the Flu, and Nursing Home Safety this Holiday Season

The power to prevent the flu and other dangerous sicknesses is in your hands. Believe it or not, but TB, Pneumoccous, Streptococcus, Coxsackie virus, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, the common cold, the flu and flu-like illnesses can be prevented simply by washing hands. And that’s precisely the message of National Handwashing Awareness Week.

Those who work in a nursing home are required to wash their hands at the beginning of the shift, at the end of their shift, before and after direct contact with many residents, as well as before handling personal hygiene duties and before and after handling medical devices like catheters, bed dressings or blood samples. These are not only common-sense habits; they’re prescribed by guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, part of the process by which the nation’s nursing homes are inspected and certified.

Our nursing home abuse attorneysin Broward understand the faith many families in the area put in nursing homes they chose for their loved ones. It’s critical that we know that our elderly loved ones are safe, they’re protected and that they’re working with the most cautious and careful staff. One of the most important of the handwashing tips that we can offer involve the T Zone. This is the area that is comprised of your mucous membranes of your eyes, nose and mouth. It’s critical that hands are washed after touching these areas. Believe it or not, but if you were to never touch those mucous membranes with a dirty (contaminated) finger you would never get sick again from a respiratory or gastro-intestinal illness.

When cleaning your hands, you best bet is to use alcohol-based hand rubs are products. These products are best equipped to kill germs on the hands. They are fast-acting, convenient, and generally can be used for all situations. Be sure to use hand rubs that contain 60 to 95 percent ethanol or isopropanol (types of alcohol).

A third of Medicare/Medicaid-certified long-term care providers surveyed by The Joint Commission during the first half of this year struggled to meet basic hand hygiene requirements, according to data recently released by the accrediting organization.

Resident handwashing is an integral component of all nurse aide training program curriculum. Nurse aides are trained to offer, encourage and/or assist residents to perform handwashing.

Washing your hands is one of the most important things you and your family can do to prevent illness. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand hygiene is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.

Clean hands can help protect you from infectious and food-borne illnesses. If you get sick, it can also keep you from passing your illness to others.

In the United States, hospital patients get nearly 2 million infections each year. That’s about 1 infection for every 20 patients. Infections that patients get in the hospital can be life-threatening and hard to treat.

Make hygiene and infection control fun and it will reinforce the messages you want to convey and help staff to develop lasting habits.

Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Lack of Oversight in Nursing Home Care Industry, Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2013

As Boomers Enter Old Age, Staffing Shortage Poses Risk, Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2013

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