"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Infection Control

In January, my mother suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for a week.  Travel in the dead of winter was an experience, and it took me a day longer to get there due to flights delays and cancelations.  Once I arrived, however, what a great learning experience for me from the patient’s side of the house.  My poor staff at WMHS got bombarded with emails:  How do we handle this or that? Tell me we don't do this or that? I have an idea or a new way of doing something.  And, the list goes on.   I will blog from time to time about my time in my mother's hospital room as it was truly an invaluable experience. 

One area of significant note was infection control in the patient room.  Worst offenders by far are visitors, especially family members.  Fully clothed visitors, shoes and all, lying in bed with, and even without, the patient.  Bags of clothing, purses and suitcases on the floor and then placed on the bed with the patient.  Visitors propping up their feet on the bed with dirty shoes. (Have you ever been in a men's room and seen the floor below a urinal?). But my favorite one, which is encouraged by hospitals, was visitors assisting their mom, dad, grandma who was the patient but NEVER washing or even sanitizing their hands. 

As hospitals, we need to do a better job of educating visitors and family members on infection control measures.  That process has already started at WMHS.

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