Hand washing prevents the flu, but Fraser Health employees have 87% hand hygiene compliance


Health care practitioners washing their hands is a step to staying healthy while working in hospitals. Photo by flickr user jar []

An influenza expert describes health care practitioners washing their hands during the flu season as an “obvious thing” that according to a recent report by Fraser Health, some employees aren’t following.

Recent report cards released by the health authority showed that across all 12 of their hospitals there was an average of 87 per cent compliance for hand hygiene. This number fluctuates between hospitals, with the highest compliance rate at Fraser Canyon Hospital with 97.6 per cent compliance, and the lowest at Royal Columbian Hospital, with 82 per cent compliance.

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The comparison of hand hygiene compliance by hospital according to the Fraser Health report card.

Hand washing helps to avoid catching the flu

Christopher Upton, a professor in biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Victoria and expert in the influenza said he would have thought health care practitioners washing their hands 100 per cent of the time would be obvious.

“Anything you can do to avoid getting infected yourself or infecting other people is good. It’s kind of an obvious thing I would have thought,” Upton said.

“I think that washing the hands is important for self inoculation because when you touch things you get it on your hands, then you touch your eyes, you poke your nose…I think it’s important to encourage.”

There is proof that hand hygiene helps to avoid catching the flu, according to Upton.

“I think the evidence is there that not just if somebody sneezes and the aerosol is there and you breathe it in,” Upton said.

“There is strong evidence that you essentially inoculate yourself, you get it on you, then you get it in your eye, then all the fluids that have been in your eye constantly drain through the sinuses into the throat and lung.”

Patients want higher compliance rate

Tina Taphouse recently visited the Langley Memorial Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital emergency rooms and said doctors don’t wash their hands in front of patients, so she has no way of knowing if they properly washed their hands.

“When you’re in emergency you don’t see them before they come to you, so I just assume that they would,” Taphouse said.

“It should be 100 [per cent compliance]. If you’re dealing with health and patients and food, it should be 100.”

Employee compliance has been on the rise since 2010, when Fraser Health reported a 38 per cent compliance rate, which Taphouse said she has seen an increase in information which might have something to do with those numbers.

“Definitely you can see more signage everywhere you go, and I guess there’s the education out there of telling us who aren’t in health care to be washing all the time,” Taphouse said.

HealthLink BC promotes hand washing

On the fact sheet distributed by HealthLink BC the first point on preventing the flu is regularly washing hands.

“Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact,” according to the fact sheet.

“The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from a cough or a sneeze on another person or object and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.”

Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health did not respond in time for deadline.


Non-Verbal Communication An Asset For Deaf Curlers

Hearing a rock hit another, the squeaking of the brooms, and shoes sliding across the ice are sounds that are all present at this provincial curling playdown, one that’s missing is the teams shouting commands to one another.

For the BC Deaf Curling Playdown, the teams were communicating using American Sign Language. Two all-men’s teams were playing for a spot in the Canadian Deaf Games 2018. B.C. only has one all-female team, which advanced automatically to the tournament.

In this video Ronald Fee, the acting president of the BC Deaf Sports Federation, the coach of one of the teams, as well as two curlers explain the difference between hearing and deaf curling.

Vancouver Greens Hopeful For More Seats In Next Election

Green Party members gather at Eight ½ Restaurant and Lounge on Oct. 14. Photo: Laura Brougham

The Green Party’s success in Saturday’s byelection in Vancouver cannot be viewed as a prelude to what will happen in the polls in the civic election next October.

That’s the conclusion of Ramjee Parajulee, a Langara College political science instructor, who cautioned the Greens’ election of three school trustees Oct. 14 occurred with only 11 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

“Certainly, it’s a positive sign,” Parajulee said. “But how can you gauge the opinion of people based on 11 per cent?”

The Greens’ Janet Fraser, Judy Zaichkowsky and Estrellita Gonzalez won the top three spots on the nine-person school board. They were among 19 candidates in a race that saw Vision Vancouver also win three seats. The NPA won two and OneCity finished with one.

Fry places third

On the council side, the Greens’ Pete Fry’s 9,759 votes left him in third place behind second-place finisher Jean Swanson. The NPA‘s Hector Bremner won the council seat with 13,372 votes and 28 per cent of the vote.

Despite this being Fry’s third attempt at running for public office — twice municipally and once provincially — he was not deterred by Saturday’s loss. He said the results showed growing support for the Greens, which he predicted will translate to a win for the party in the 2018 election.

“I think there was a really clear signal that was sent tonight — that people are looking for a new progressive party for the City of Vancouver, and the Greens are starting to fit that bill,” said Fry, who watched the results at Eight ½ Restaurant and Lounge in Mount Pleasant, which is owned by Green Party park board commissioner Michael Wiebe.

Next election October 2018

About 100 supporters, including park board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon and Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr, gathered at the restaurant to watch the results. They heard Fry announce later in the night that he will run in the 2018 election — an announcement that was welcomed by a cheering Carr.

“I’m ecstatic, I’m very happy that Pete’s going to run,” she said. “I absolutely believe that when people have 10 councillors to vote for [in the next election] they’re going to elect me and Pete.”

Jacquie Miller, the Green Party‘s campaign manager, said the party has to carefully plan its strategy for the 2018 election.

“It’s incumbent on us as the Green Party of Vancouver to determine our strategy and how many people we will run,” Miller said. “We ran three for council last time, and we elected one, but both of the other two [Fry and Cleta Brown] came very close and they were both phenomenal candidates.”