Barbara Dunn “Not On My Watch” Awareness For Health-care Associated Infections (HAI)

medical worker doctor-hand-washingHealth-care Associated Infections, known as (HCAI or HCI), is a serious problem that continues to soar in medical facilities and hospitals throughout the world. This is one of the biggest global medical crisis that you may of never heard of. HAI annually affects millions of patients, visitors, as well as the hospital and medical health care personnel themselves.

Barbara Dunn, who is a PR representative for Kimberly-Clark, has set up an awareness program and site, entitled “Not on My Watch.” This great resource can be found at

This website represents a joint effort to educate the public, the health care professionals and their patients, on the real and existing dangers of hospital and health care spread infections. There are millions of individuals who are falling ill in the very place where they are expected to cure or get well.

How HAI Happens
When a health-care worker, a patient or visitor goes to a hospital or medical facility to get medical care or to visit someone, they suddenly contract an unrelated infection while there, which requires costly medical attention. Health-Care or Hospital Associated Infections has now become a critical global crisis which affects millions of individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO), claims there are up to 1.5 million individuals who suffer from bacterial infections acquired from hospitals at any point of time!

Is HAI Preventable?
Although every health facility has strict cleaning and hygiene protocols, such as the constant use of hand ‘anti-bacterial’ gels, but because of the medical environment, it is almost impossible to control and combat aggressive bacteria such as: c.difficile and MRSA among others.

MRSA is an especially dangerous form of bacterial infection that’s difficult to contain and treat as it’s usually resistant to most antibiotics. MRSA is also common in hospitals because it attacks the patient’s already weakened immune systems, caused by another illness. Open cuts and wounds also provides a way in for this particular bacteria to spread. Clostridium Difficile, is the other common bacteria found in these settings, where patients are also at the most risk and susceptible.

While hospital or health-care associated infections may not be completely unavoidable, a lot of the infections are spread because of a lack of or a non-existent infection control program. This is a extremely serious and a growing problem that just a few of the hospitals have properly addressed.

The Cost On The Health Care System
The cost of controlling these type of infections are having a huge economic toll on the already stretched health-care system budgets. Contracting these infections can typically require the patients to spend significantly more time in the hospital for treatment, costing an estimated additional $8 billion in costs, this according to the Center for Disease Dynamics.

However, the cost for prevention of Health-care Associated Infection is a lot more affordable. All that’s required are that the hospitals follow the health standard protocols set out, such as washing hands as well as immediately sanitizing medical equipment and supplies.

The Center For Disease Control’s Guideline For Hygiene in Health-care Settings
CDC is reporting that there are only around 40% of health-care workers that strictly adhere to the standard hand hygiene protocols. So these health care workers consistently fail to comply with the hospitals hand washing requirements. The main blame lies in the inconvenient access of these hand washing facilities, as well as a shortage of time.

Bacteria killing alcohol based hand lotions and rubs, placed in ‘hands-free’ dispensers, should be placed in every patients room, as well as the outside elevators, outside staff workstations and in the common visitation areas. The medical equipment should also be cleaned thoroughly after each use as well.

Your Next Hospital Visit
So the next time you, a family member of a friend, has to go to a hospital or medical facility, take note of their hand-washing protocols. Also make sure that you wash your hands as well. Other measures you can take to protect yourself include:

– Taking your own alcohol based swipes or hand gel and apply it yourself
– Make sure you ask the medical personnel, the doctor or nurse if they have washed their hands, don’t assume

It is perfectly your right to ask. Also make sure that anyone visiting you also cleans their hands, when they arrive and when they leave. Always wear slippers instead of going bare feet, and always report any uncleanliness that you notice immediately.

What Can The Hospitals Do To Avoid HAI
There are many protocols that are available to avoid this serious threat. Some which are more effective than others. There are ways to effectively sanitize the air and all surfaces, the fixtures and fittings of the facility.

Unfortunately, many of these hospitals are old, and modern sanitizing systems and equipment were not built in like the newer hospitals or medical facilities. Retrofitting and installing new sanitary equipment into existing premises would be too costly, so different solutions are needed.

Health-care Associated Infection should be, but obviously cannot be completely contained. There are methods and protocol for infection prevention, infection detection, the control and treatment that are constantly updated and reviewed.

The Department of Health and Human Services has recently released their annual report on the quality of health care that Americans receive. The hospitals and medical facilities still have a lot of work to do to stop the ongoing , but solvable problem of Health-care Associated Infections (HAIs).

To help in achieving this goal, Kimberly-Clark Health Care has launched the “Not on My Watch” ( and, awareness websites, which provides information and tools to assist health care professionals to eliminate HAIs.

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