Hospitals and other healthcare providers work hard to prevent healthcare-acquired infections, but patients can and should help. It’s the patient’s right and responsibility to ask questions, remind providers about hand hygiene, and take any other protective action they can. Those responsibilities naturally pass to the trusted advocate when the patient is not well enough to fulfill them. It’s clearly in everyone’s best interest for providers to make patients aware of their role as active participants in their own care and safety.
The patient pictured here happens to know about privacy curtains as a source of contamination, and to request hand hygiene (HH). Most patients or their advocates will likely need to ask their providers open-ended questions about best practices for all-cause harm reduction.
Here are some useful resources for patient education:
Preventing Infections in the Hospital – from the National Patient Safety Foundation
15 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Risk of a Hospital Infection – from the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
Hospital Acquired Conditions and Patient Safety in Hospitals – from HeathCare.gov is a mother lode of resources …
… including the WAVE (Wash, Ask, Vaccinate, Ensure safety) campaign materials.
You may have noticed that the tagline on the healthcare.gov site is “Take health care into your own hands.” We wholeheartedly agree. Just remember to wash those hands first.