"It's a standard practice, but with busy schedules, complying is not always easy for some professionals," says Dr. Murray Favus, who was director of the Clinical Research Center at the University of Chicago for the last 19 years.
As an example, he
describes the process of making patient rounds along with a small team of interns, residents and students.
"Typically, as many as four of us might have patient contact, shifting a person's position in bed so we can examine his
condition or change a dressing.A sink, soap and paper towels are in or near every room, but the cleaning process slows us down.If four people have to scrub down after seeing 15 patients in the morning, that's 60 handwashings."Favus
says everyone wants to follow policy, but no one wants to slow the team's progress.Not every washing is thorough.
Doctors and staff in the intensive care unit must be even more diligent, he
says, pointing out that the sickest people require more frequent monitoring.
sees value in having automatic flushers in washrooms used by patients."It's one less step for a weak patient," he