A new study has a message for doctors and nurses who fail to wash their hands: Don’t think about yourself. Think about your patients.
Getting health care professionals to comply with notices to wash their hands before and after dealing with patients has been something of a thorn in the side of many hospitals. Although this simple measure limits the spread of sickness — and could potentially reduce the nation’s hospital health care bill by billions of dollars — many doctors and nurses simply ignore it. Compliance rates for hand washing in American hospitals are only around 40 percent, and years of awareness programs urging doctors to wash up or use disinfectant gels have had little effect.