You might remember that back in 2003, there was an outbreak of a new, deadly type of Coronavirus. We called it SARS, and it threatened to become a major new disease. Some cities (like Toronto, where we live) were hit harder than others, and it eventually died off but left a lasting impression that our infection control efforts needed work.
What did we see happen in regards to infection prevention at facility entrances over time?
1. First, guards (healthcare staff) were placed at entrances to ensure hand hygiene practices were followed.
2. Next, that proved costly and took up valuable staff time, so they were replaced with self-serve hand gel pumps, often just placed on a table.
3. Lastly, over the years that table (tables cost money!) got smaller and smaller and eventually became the simple hand rub stand you see everywhere nowadays.
Now, this is important to pay attention to: guards at entrances were effective because they got your attention and call you to action, NOT because they were holding hand rub. It’s about the activity, not the supplies.
Now, it’s 2020. This past December there was an outbreak of a new, deadly type of Coronavirus. We called it COVID-19, and unlike SARS it became a major worldwide pandemic, one that didn’t affect just hospitals but changed how we shop, bank, and take the train. What did we see happen in regards to infection prevention at facility entrances this time?
First guards (staff) were placed at entrances to ensure hand hygiene practices were followed.
Next, that proved costly and took up valuable staff time, so they were replaced with self-serve hand gel pumps, often just placed on a table.
Then, of course, the simple stands started to come out.
You can see where this is going. For some reason, society keeps looking at hand hygiene as a supply problem, when it’s really a behavioural one. Putting hand gel out there doesn’t work on its own, and never will.
That’s why our Tagg Clean-Hands® Sanitizing Stations work. They were originally designed after seeing the above happen after the SARS outbreak and are designed like a monument: a structure whose real and committed purpose is to draw people in, raise awareness and foster education. And while they’re there they can clean their hands, too.
If we want to continue to go out in public during this pandemic, we need Hand Sanitizing Stations that mimic the function of those original entrance guards. Make Hand Hygiene the first thing people see, and remind them why they need to do it.
This time, maybe we’ll actually learn something from history.