Hand washing has been emphasized as a hygiene measure to control of the spread of infectious diseases in a hospital setting. Additionally, researchers have established that maintaining proper hand hygiene is instrumental in lowering the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections across the world. The main aim of this paper is to show that facilitating hand washing among staff and patients in the hospital is likely to reduce the number of nosocomial infections, hence reducing the mortality rates and saving both financial and medical resources. Hand washing applies to nursing as it has been used in the past as a control measure for infectious diseases. Hand washing is particularly important in a hospital environment as the spread of infectious diseases is likely to occur due to the increased number of patients with various illnesses. Also, health care staff comes into contact with patients frequently, increasing the chances of cross contamination.
Investigation of hand washing
Hand hygiene is seen as one of the most essential elements in the control of infectious diseases (Mathur, 2011). Maintaining adequate hand hygiene has been advocated for many years, with evidence highlighting the importance of hand washing in preventing hospital-acquired infections. Nosocomial infections increase the burden of disease on health care and are a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality among patients admitted to the hospital. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) report that hospitalized patients acquire approximately 722,000 infections every year, averaging to about one infection for every 25 patients. Nosocomial infections are also prevalent across the globe, with approximately five to ten percent of patients developing nosocomial infections worldwide (Erasmus et al., 2011). Also, five to ten percent of patients acquire nosocomial infections, with 20 to 30 percent of them being admitted to the intensive care unit (Erasmus et al., 2011).
Evidence Supporting Hand Washing In Hospital Settings
Hand washing has been advocated for a long time by various health institutions and researches. Over the years, health organizations such as the WHO and CDC have issued guidelines on hand washing and promoted health campaigns to increase hand washing especially in areas where transmission of pathogens is highly possible. Normally, two types of microbes are found on the surface of hands, including the resident flora and transient flora (Mathur, 2011). Resident flora usually consists of microorganisms that reside beneath the superficial cells of the stratum cornea and are less likely to cause infections. In addition, they are easy to remove through routine hand washing. Transient flora, on the other hand, can survive for long but is not capable of multiplying on the skin. These bacteria are often acquired by health care professionals during contact with patients or other contaminated surfaces in the hospital. Transient microbes are the microorganisms that are frequently responsible for hospital acquired infections (Mathur, 2011).
The hands of health care workers may be colonized by disease-causing microorganisms such as methicillin resistant S. aureus (MSRA), enterococci, Candida spp., gram-negative bacteria, and Clostridium difficile (Mathur, 2011). These organisms can survive during long periods of …