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Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital recently became one of a few hospitals in the country to install advanced hand-washing machines outside of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and neonatal progressive care nursery (NPCN) to continue to protect patients from infections.
Levine is one of only two hospitals in North Carolina and one of only 300 in the nation with a touch-free, fully automated system for washing bare hands. This system kills up to 99.98 percent of harmful germs found on the skin. All visitors will be required to use the machines prior to entering the NICU or NPCN.
Each year, one in 25 patients acquires a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in hospitals across the U.S. Proper hand hygiene is the single most effective way to avoid at least one-third of HAIs. Over the years, Carolinas HealthCare System has dedicated task forces, councils and collaborative projects (e.g., Hospital Engagement Network) to ensuring teammates and visitors use proper hand hygiene practices and personal protective equipment, as needed, across its facilities.
“It is our priority to reduce the spread of infections and to ensure that patients, visitors and teammates all follow rigorous hand hygiene practices,” said Pamela Beckwith, vice president of Quality for Carolinas HealthCare System. “The machines at Levine are part of a larger System approach to provide easier, effective ways to clean your hands so that we can reach our goal of zero HAIs.”
These machines clean and rinse hands in 15 seconds, removing the same amount of bacteria from the hands compared to a 60-second manual wash and rinse process. It uses a solution stronger than soap and water with moisturizers that keep hands from drying out. In the healthcare setting, these machines are most commonly placed by intensive care units.