The Germ Police and Handwashing

Hospital's "Sticker on Head" Approach

One amazing thing most of these hospitals have in common is a reward system. Apparently doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff react positively to rewards. In kindergarten they placed a sticker on your forehead for good behavior….which resulted in more good behavior. Hospitals are putting this age old concept to use in their facilities. Adults respond positively to rewards too! That means they change their behavior in a positive way. They head for the sink!

When “caught” washing their hands they get rewarded. The rewards vary in every hospital but the trend is for pins, ribbon sand other trivial stuff. (Remember it’s the recognition, the pat on the back!)

Sometimes there are dinners and gift certificates! All this creates a buzz around the hospital. “Hey, I got a gift certificate for Star Bucks for getting caught washing my hands!”

The Germ Police and Handwashing

Hospitals Everywhere Are Getting Feisty About Hand Washing Compliance.

The germ and hand washing police are getting serious and down right feisty in hospitals across the country. Every day we read about more initiatives taking place as hospitals attempt to raise the dismal 50% compliance rate reported in many medical facilities.

The article below is about another hospital and their use of in house germ police to help correct the problem of hand washing non-compliance. If you have ever heard the words staph infection, you can understand this war against germs in hospitals is getting serious. Serious enough to call out the germ police.

An experimental vaccine designed to ward off potentially deadly staph infections is showing promise in animal studies
That’s good news. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug resistant super bugs kill thousands of people every year. Most are patients who get infected while they are in the hospital! It’s a dangerous problem that is prompting germ crackdown campaigns in medical centers across the country It’s a lesson taught early on.
“Handwashing is a great way to prevent the transmission of diseases!” But these days, school isn’t the only place promoting the ABC’s of good hand hygiene! Purell and that was a good job
At Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, the halls are monitored by the germ patrol!
“I go from basically floor to floor observing staff watching to see if they’re compliant with hand hygiene.”
Sanitizers are stocked at every stop and catchy reminders are posted on computers.
Presbyterian is among a growing number of medical institutions pushing rigorous hand hygiene as a strategy to combat the growing problem of hospital acquired infections.
“Infection can complicate their treatment, it can prolong their hospitalization, it can put them at greater risk.”
Clean hands can cut the infection risk, but according to recent research handwashing compliance among hospital staff across the country hovers around 50 percent. It’s hoped that hands on campaigns like this one will help reverse that trend and reduce the number of patients who are infected by bad bugs hiding on hands. Hospitals in Canada and Europe are taking a more aggressive search and destroy approach against the infection causing organisms. Patients are routinely tested for the bacteria and those who test positive are isolated.
The vaccine under study in mice at the University of Chicago protecteted against multiple disease causing drug resistant staph infections.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

S. aureus, often referred to simply as “Staph,” is common, found on the skin and in the noses of an estimated 30 percent of people worldwide. It is a frequent source of skin infections, which can usually be treated without antibiotics, but it can also cause serious surgical wound infections, bloodstream and bone infections, or pneumonia.

Physicians are particularly concerned about S. aureus because of its ability to survive in the presence of antibiotics designed to kill it. In 1972, according to the Centers for Disease Control, only two percent of S. aureus infections were drug-resistant. By 2004, 63 percent had learned to resist the antibiotics commonly used to treat them.

Consumers Union:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology:


States with Laws Requiring Public Reporting of Hospital Infection Rates: Connecticut Florida Illinois Maryland Missouri New Hampshire New York Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Virginia Vermont.

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