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Biography

John Gammon is the Deputy Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University and trained as a Nurse at Westminster Hospital London. He is a Non-Executive Director of a Local NHS Health Board. His expertise is in infection prevention and control, working in practice as a Specialist Nurse for many years. His PhD examined coping strategies and mediating factors for individuals in source isolation. His research interests include isolation strategies and the psychological effects, hand hygiene and behavioral theory to improve infection prevention compliance.

Abstract

Wet hands are an infection risk, increasing the potential for cross infection as well as the harm to the skin condition of healthcare practitioners. This presentation examines the infection risk associated with wet hands, efficacy research of different drying and the impact on the safe clinical care. Current research and practice recommendations concentrate on hand washing, compliance rates and the efficacy of different interventions to improve hand washing. However, there is a noticeable neglect of hand drying practice which fails to recognize its importance in the prevention and control of infection. There is recognition that hand drying is of equal importance to hand washing, that there is a lack of compliance amongst practitioners and that the efficacy of different methods varies. This presentation argues that the effectiveness of the drying technique and method is neglected area of practice and research; however it has grown in importance in more recent years with a number of studies recently being published. The presentation examines a number of published international studies, which evaluate the efficacy of different methods in clinical areas. The presentation notes that despite this evidence, research needs to focus and evaluate the efficacy the methods and extent of drying by practitioners within the clinical environment. We need to give greater emphasis to the equal importance of hand drying when we consider hand hygiene in the clinical context. We must accept that patient safety is put at risk when we fail to dry our hands.

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