Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Not here, thankfully


A Boston friend visiting a relative sent these pictures to give a view of how hand hygiene (note empty soap dispenser) and tap water ("Do not drink") are dealt with in an out-of-state hospital.

8 comments:

Christina said...

Maybe it is an old habit, but everytime I set foot into a hospital I see if there is a smell and I go into the bathroom to see how well it is kept up. It says a lot for how much the hospital values cleanliness and ultimately infection control.

Great leaders don't let this happen in their facility! Period.

PJ Geraghty said...

Do you know if your friend reported the situation (the soap...the other appears to be a known issue, if a depressing one) to hospital staff? I visit a LOT of hospitals and make it a point to alert appropriate staff (in a friendly way) about such conditions. You can learn a lot about a hospital's culture by the responses you get.

(side note: my captcha for this comment is "reada" which is Boston-speak for what I've been of yours, faithfully, for some time now.)

Dr. Val said...

Looks more like a truck stop than a hospital! Ew.

pesha said...

PJ, no, not this one. Family members have to be judicious in reporting even in the friendliest of ways when a loved one is in the hospital for protracted periods of time, as is our case (five weeks and counting). Care issues are paramount and generally have been responded to graciously. But alas this: When you see the maintenance guy cross himself and bow his head toward the patient after observing said loved one's gurney being crashed into the garbage cart, *that* is worth reporting (and perhaps material for Sat Night Live). 'Nuf said?

(Dr. Val - precisely)

Farmer Bob said...

Is there, like in many hospitals, a hand sanitizer at the door of the room? It is most unfortunate that the sink water is not potable, but that may be a problem with the hospital water plant and not the municipal supply.

If the water is unsafe to drink, then it follows that it is unsafe to use for handwashing, so it prudent not to have soap there. Probably the only reason the water is on is to flush the toilets. I'm surprised the sinks aren't turned off.

I've also heard of a trend in public washrooms to provide only cold water, and no soap, because studies have shown that 30 seconds of friction and water remove contagions. I feel that soap and hot water are inducements to wash, but studies drive cost-cutting, not common sense.

pesha said...

Yes, hand sanitizer outside the door of the room and inside the room (but not by the bathroom).

I've thought about the handwashing problem each time I've done so, merrily singing Happy Birthday twice...but now you've raised another concern, Farmer Bob: Dish washing, which I do after all the pt's meals, since I'm providing her food (hospital food sounds good on paper, but alas...). Of course, I'm wastefully using paper plates but utensils, bowls for soup, oatmeal, and the like. How do I clean those in this situation?

Farmer Bob said...

pesha, there are equivalent sanitizers for dishwashing. I am appalled that there is no sanitizer in the bathroom. As Christina said, the care shown in bathroom cleanliness and maintenance is revealing of the institutional priorities and culture.

I'm sorry that the institutional food is not up to par. I have not had that experience in the hospitals I've attended; in general, the food was good and arrived at proper temperatures. BIDMC is one of those hospitals.

Do not be fooled by the "wasting trees" propaganda. Paper products are not wasteful. We grow and process trees specifically for paper. It is a renewable resource. Paper has always been recycled in this country, and more types of paper are recyclable today. Plus, if demand rises, we plant more trees. Skip the plastic utensils, and you are green as green can be.

pesha said...

OK, I'm on the hunt for the dishwashing sanitizer. Update on the sanitizer outside the bathroom with the broken and empty soap dispenser. IT WAS EMPTY TODAY! The sanitizer outside the bathroom with the ... follow my drift. And thanks all for the pointers.

Have developed method for boiling water in electric water heater, pouring over dishes, washing (hot hot hot), then heating and rinsing. I feel like I'm in a developing country - only it's the greatest city in the world (so they say).