June 27, 2007 – Recent news stories have highlighted the increased incidences of hospital-acquired infections, including those spread by hand-to-hand contact and other sources. EquipSystems’ recently commissioned study revealed that dangerous levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria live on high-traffic equipment such as stretchers, tray tables and clinical recliners. The study found significant amounts of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), yeast and fungi on these surfaces.
Acknowledging that hospital “best practices” can sometimes fall short, especially turning times of emergency, Samuel Fager, M.D., MBA, JD, a national expert on hospital standards and accreditations and EquipSystems' medical director, recommends consumers take the following steps to reduce their risk of contracting a hospital-acquired infection:
1) If you don't see a physician, nurse or technician washing their hands or wearing new gloves before they touch you in any way, you should request that they do so. Don't worry about hurting anyone's feelings: If nothing else, stating your wishes will reinforce basic infection control protocols
2) Ask any visitors to wash their hands before coming near you. Minimize their contact with you by not allowing them to use your hospital linens, cups or utensils.
3) Request a canister of antimicrobial alcohol hand wipes. Hospitals routinely stock such items or, if you know about an impending hospital admission, take your own along with you. They are available at many pharmacies. Use these wipes before meals and routinely throughout the day
4) When asking hospital staff for a canister of hand wipes, request a canister of surface wipes as well. Use these wipes routinely on your over-the-bed table or other porous surfaces to kill bacteria, viruses and yeast
For more information: www.equipsystems.com.