Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Think of hospital as giant box of germs


…Didn’t there used to be an expression, “Hospital clean?” Not anymore!

…Infections contracted in hospitals are the fourth largest killer in North America.

…As many people die of hospital crud in a year (103,000) than of breast cancer, AIDS, and auto accidents combined.

…A few hospitals have lashed into the problem and have found that handwashing, cleaning of rooms and equipment, and testing incoming patients for bugs can make a huge difference in infection rates.

…HA has noticed that hospital rooms often don’t look clean—there are little splotches and scraps of paper on the floor, the toilets with those plastic urine-catcher things seem yucky, and overall, things often are not sparkling.

…HA has never seen a doctor use her hospital room sink to wash. Never! According to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (www.hospitalinfection.org), a person wearing gloves may be no cleaner—if they put the gloves on unwashed hands.

….Ask that the stethoscope be swabbed with alcohol.

…Ask about your surgeon’s infection rate. They know what it is.

…Stop smoking before surgery—smokers get more infections.

…After surgery, when you go walking, ask for clean socks before going back to bed.

…Ask for sanitary wipes for your own hands—or a basin and water

…If you get a urinary catheter, get it removed as soon as possible. Sometimes patients and staff think these are convenient, but they are a major site of infection.

…Ask to have your IVs changed every few days.

…HA had not thought of some of these.

…As always, she welcomes the paranoia. Kinda.

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