‘It’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in healthcare’
You may be wondering why I am writing a post about this day? Considering this is aimed at Healthcare Professionals and the majority of my readers are ostomates. The reason why I have decided to highlight this very important awareness day is due to my own experience.
I have had sepsis 9 times and I think most of those times were down to my body. However, when I had my cystectomy and urostomy in 2015 I caught C-Diff off another patient in a different bay because the staff's hands were not washed properly. It made me extremely poorly, went to sepsis and extended my stay to 3 months in isolation. After that happened the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) department were called to the ward straight away and took a statement from me and clamped down heavily so this would not happen again. On one of the boards on the ward, there was a lot of information on the importance of infection and control and hand washing. I don’t feel angry this has happened because this was dealt with very professionally without me complaining. I feel confident the ward learned from this and hopefully, this won't happen again.
Why did this day start?
This is a global campaign ‘SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands’ that was launched on the 5th May in 2009 and is a natural extension of The World Health Organisation (WHO) First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care (link) work.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls on all health facilities to prevent healthcare-associated sepsis through hand hygiene and infection prevention and control. In 2017 at the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a resolution “Improving the prevention, diagnosis and clinical management of sepsis’ urging every country to strengthen Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). Therefore this is 2018’s theme ‘it’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in healthcare’
Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide which is a HUGE number. Healthcare-associated infections acquired during healthcare delivery are a common risk factor for developing sepsis but this can be prevented by effective hand hygiene.
Practising hand washing is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. One of the most common modes of transmission of pathogens is via the hands and hand hygiene remains the most important infection prevention measure.
For somebody who is prone to sepsis and immune suppressed hand washing has to be part of my routine. When I was training in Radiotherapy and Oncology I was taught to wash my hands thoroughly and I try to carry this on today. Sometimes I don’t clean them as effectively as I should but writing this post has made me re-evaluate that. Having a urostomy and ileostomy I have to be super careful there is no cross-contamination that could cause a kidney infection.
These hand washing instructions for Healthcare Professionals are important for all of us whether we have a stoma or not. Washing hands with soap and water are the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol. This reduces the number of germs on hands in some situations but sanitises do not get rid of all types of germs.
Here are some examples of the best way to wash your hands:
This initiative is so important to prevent hospital-acquired infections and possible sepsis through washing hands thoroughly. However, I believe all of us that are prone to infections or immune suppressed could also learn this technique for ourselves.