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Clean Hands Save Lives

(HORIZON) May 5, 2014 - Horizon Health Network is celebrating National Hand Hygiene Day today by reminding visitors, patients and staff to clean their hands.

"By working together with patients and their families, we will be better positioned to prevent the spread of infection and improve patient outcomes," said John McGarry, President and CEO, Horizon Health Network. "Every year, Canadian patients die or become seriously ill from infections acquired in hospitals. At least 30 per cent of these infections are preventable."

In recognition of National Hand Hygiene Day, volunteers will be stationed at the entrance of Horizon's regional hospitals to encourage the use of alcohol-based hand rinse when entering and exiting the facility.

In addition, Horizon is excited to introduce a new video ( ) now available on its website at . 'Did you clean your hands?' reminds visitors that they can reduce the risk to themselves and patients by cleaning their hands.

"Practicing proper hand hygiene is the easiest and most effective way of preventing the spread of infection in health-care facilities," said Dr. Gordon Dow, Infectious Disease Specialist, Horizon Health Network. "Visitors should clean their hands when they enter and exit the hospital, as well as when they enter and exit a patient's room."

Although our hands may look clean, they can carry many germs that are invisible to the naked eye. By failing to clean our hands we can unknowingly spread bacteria and viruses to others and throughout the environment. There are two effective hand cleaning methods:

• Cleaning with an alcohol-based hand rinse, or

• Washing with soap and water.

Horizon provides an e-learning module on its website where patients, families and visitors can familiarize themselves with proper hand hygiene techniques.

National Hand Hygiene Day is an initiative of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and coincides with a global initiative from the World Health Organization.

Together, we can help to stop the spread of infectious diseases.

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For more information contact:

Carolyn McCormack, APR

Media Relations



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