Wash Your Hands to Prevent Infection

Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Mom was right about how to stop spreading germs!

During International Infection Prevention Week (Oct. 16-22), we celebrate all that healthcare professionals and the general public do every day to “Break the Chain of Infection.”

At Lakeland Surgical & Diagnostic Center, patient safety is our top priority. A huge part of that is infection prevention.

CEO Emily Duncan with a wall of pledges for hand hygiene.

CEO Emily Duncan with a wall of pledges for hand hygiene.

Emily Duncan, RN, BSN, CNOR, CASC, says the best thing we all can do is to pay attention to hand hygiene. “You need to use soap or alcohol-based hand rubs. That is the No. 1 recommendation,” says Duncan, who serves as chief executive officer at Lakeland Surgical & Diagnostic Center. “We have a campaign underway right now to make hand hygiene a 100 percent promise or commitment to our patients.”

Posters throughout LSDC facilities encourage people to wash their hand or use hand sanitizers.

Duncan says another key way to prevent infection is to contain coughs and sneezes. Everyone should get a flu shot, she says, adding, “Don’t go out in the community and spread it around when you are sick.”

She also suggests you look for “hand hygiene stations” wherever you go. On a recent visit to a nursing facility, she noticed a station by the door with hand wipes, tissues and face masks for those who are sick. “Publix Super Markets even has wipes available by the carts. That’s so helpful,” she says.

At LSDC, we take cleaning quite a bit further than the average person or office.

Our cleaning crew works in the evening, and we make rounds every morning to follow up and make sure things were cleaned to our high standards. The operating rooms are terminally cleaned each night from ceiling to floor. We even use a black light to ensure surfaces were cleaned properly. “A black light definitely ensures you clean better,” Duncan says.

We also keep disinfecting wipes in the breakroom, and after people eat, they wipe down the table. In addition, every Friday, everyone wipes down their desk, telephone, computer keyboard and mouse with disinfecting wipes.

“All of these principles apply to everyone,” Duncan says. “It’s our personal responsibility to keep our germs to ourselves.”

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