I've been writing for a long time that I think it's inappropriate and ineffective to ask patients and families to inspect or police hand hygiene in hospital settings. It's the job of healthcare leaders to create systems that include enough time for nurses, doctors, and others to properly practice hand hygiene in the name of protecting patients.
Hanging more posters and cuter signs doesn't work… lack of hygiene is not an education or awareness issue – it's a systems, processes, and leadership issue.
For years, I've gently mocked the “ask me if I've washed my hands” buttons that some staff are asked (or forced) to wear. I've pointed out that no other industry puts this quality inspection burden on their customers.
So, I've created a website, www.AskMeIf.com with parody buttons that seem silly in other situations… so hopefully the “ask me if I've washed my hands” buttons will seem silly, as well – and we can try things that might work. Read more about the new site here. And see the other buttons, including “Ask Me If I Will Not Operate on the Wrong Side.” See the other buttons here.
Proceeds from the sales of any buttons will be donated to the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where I am a board member.
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