Clean hands help BC hospitals cut infection rates

WALK INTO JUST about any health facility in the province and you’ll notice hand-sanitizer stations in every direction you look. They’re mounted on walls at entrances, in waiting rooms, outside elevators, and at patients’ bedsides. The antibacterial dispensers are a big part of preventing and controlling the spread of infections in hospitals and clinics.
“About 70 to 80 percent of hospital infections can be attributed to direct contact with patients,” said Dr. Marc Romney, Providence Health Care’s medical director for infection prevention and control. “So if we can ensure that those hands are clean…then we are much more likely to decrease rates of hospital-acquired infections.” Romney, a medical microbiologist at St. Paul’s Hospital, told the Straight by phone that the emergence of a new family of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is proving a challenge for infection-control efforts.

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