Hand hygiene – social norms and compassion

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I just saw Sanjay Saint’s TEDx UofM-talk and have to say that I was impressed. The message is clear, the characters portrayed recognizable, and the conclusion something we all have to agree with. I “love” his final thoughts (and if you watch the talk to the end you know why I used “love”) and I share his views on compassion. Intentionally we branded our campaign for better infection control as “iCare”.Schermafbeelding 2016-04-26 om 21.02.03

Hope you enjoy Sanjay’s talk as much as I did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3MtvvNjUR4&sns=em

2 thoughts on “Hand hygiene – social norms and compassion

  1. The example of Dr Ignaz Semmelwies is ever so relevant, not so much from the perspective of “hand washing” and other antiseptic practices, but from the perspective of how his “Evidence Based Practices” were ignored.

    Washing hands is a “microcosm” of the larger issue of healthcare facility hygiene, and so by default patient safety.

    Einstein defined “insanity” as: “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

    When it comes to complimenting patient hygiene and safety via facility cleaning practices and protocols, the industry is consistently demonstrating a mindset of “insanity” by continuing to use the same Chemistry based agents, (quats, bleaches, oxidizers, enzymes), with the same Physics (sweeping, vacuuming, wiping).

    Admittedly there have been new and stronger chemistry products (such as 6th generation quats) and equipment innovations (microfiber clothes) but in essence it is still the same old approach of attempting to “kill everything”, the good and the bad bacteria. And as we can see this approach is not really working, especially in the face of the evolution of Superbugs such as MRSA.

    The evidence is that the established practices of using the conventional Chemistry and Physics to address the needs of Healthcare Facility Hygiene are not as effective as needed; 2 million affected patients a year in the USA for example.

    One of the reasons for this is that the conventional combination of Chemistry and Physics doesn’t remove biofilm. The CDC notes that biofilm, produced by pathogens, makes those same pathogens 500 Xs to 1,000 Xs more resistant to disinfectants and sanitizers by preventing them getting to the cell wall. So removing biofilm is a very important component / objective of facility cleaning protocols.

    Just as Dr Semmelweis understood that washing hands was critical to patient safety, so to is the removal of biofilm.

    Probiotic Cleaners represent a modern day instance of Dr Semmelweis’s appreciation of the need to adopt the evidence based practice of hand washing!

    Probiotic Cleaners utilize the principle of Competitive Exclusion, whereby when two species compete for an available food source, one will out consume the other and survive, whilst the other starves to death. Probiotic Cleaners introduce an over abundance of healthy, safe probiotic bacteria onto a surface, they out consume the pathogens, and dismantle the biofilm that protects them, leaving the pathogens without food and without a protective barrier.

    Furthermore there remains on the surface a protective layer of healthy, safe probiotic bacteria that inhibit the recolonization of the surface by pathogens.

    Looking at the experiences in agricultural livestock, HVAC maintenance, and horticulture, the utilization of Probiotic Cleaners has demonstrated consistently to be effective at addressing the presence of biofilm, and in doing so, addressing the presence of harmful pathogens.

    In swine barns where Probiotic Cleaners have replaced conventional disinfectant cleaners the instances of PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) and PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) have been eliminated.

    In poultry barns where Probiotic Cleaners were used according to manufacturer’s protocols, there were no outbreaks of the Bird Flu which in 2015 wiped out 50 million commercial turkeys and chickens in the USA.

    In HVAC applications Probiotic Cleaners are used to address the presence of biofilm on heat exchange surfaces (such as evaporator and condenser coils). Biofilm is the greatest impediment to the thermal transfer efficiency of heat exchange surfaces, and the extent and duration of the effectiveness of cleaning with Probiotic Cleaners has been very accurately measured, and shown to be superior to conventional chemistry approaches.

    So just as we started to question why was Dr Semmelweis so ridiculed by his piers for what was clearly proven to be superior evidence based practices, why does the Healthcare industry continue to use the same Chemistry and Physics offerings that can be shown to have done little to address the increases in Hospital Acquired Infections?

    I find it ironic that an offering that has been proven to save agricultural livestock, and enable livestock farmers move to Antibiotic Free animal protein production, is being shunned by the Healthcare industry when so many lives are being lost every year.

    Must we still endure the same “active resistors” and “organizational constipators” that Dr Sanjay Saint refers to in this presentation the same way Dr Semmelweis did when it come to the adoption of evidence based practices that could contribute to saving lives?


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