Wash your hands

You are disgusting. You are a big ball of filth, just teeming with germs, disease and possibly even gremlins. It’s dangerous just to look at you. Taking deep breaths in your presence is a feat restricted to those plagued with irrational risk taking behaviour, or just a garden variety death wish. All this grime covering your person will most likely contribute to the death of one nation, three dominions and four autonomous regions.

Maybe I am stretching the truth just a teeny tiny bit. While you are generally nicely scented and glowing with inner sunshine, you could quite easily take down a ward. Really, you could. If you visit friends or family in hospital and neglect to wash your hands upon entering and exiting the ward, all kinds of nasty things could infiltrate the delicate hospital environment. How do we know this? Digital signage in hospitals tells us so.

Infection control is extremely important in hospital wards. They need to ensure that everyone knows not to visit the hospital when they’re unwell, even if they just have a touch of cold or flu. Your casual sniffles could become a much bigger deal to someone who doesn’t have a big, hulking immune system like you. A baby for instance. Or a person whose immune system has been weakened by fighting other battles. To get this information out there to the hospital visiting public we post lots of the following messages:

If you don’t have a virtual nurse nearby, these messages do a pretty good job of getting the point across. We don’t want your infection in this hospital. Babies don’t need your germs. Crisps are more pleasant for all without your germs. Wash your hands. Don’t even consider using your phone without a healthy coating of hand sanitiser.

Over at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust they even have their Director of Infection Prevention and Control on the screens, and she’s driving the message home!

Everyone in the hospital – including staff – should be reminded to keep their hands clean. Patient information screens are a great way to keep the reminder constant, without getting annoying. Updating the message, images and template occasionally also helps to keep it fresh.

Here are some other interesting takes on the theme:

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust isn’t messing around. Do you have diarrhoea and/or vomiting? is emblazoned in large lettering across the message. Stay home if it’s a possibility that you’ll spread germs in the wards. Likewise, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has this wonderful message about all the nasty things that can live on your skin:

We’ve also made this message for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, showing the alcohol hand gels being used:

It’s important that people know where they can wash their hands and know where to find hand sanitising units. This information repeated on patient information playlists can save lives.

Digital signage in hospitals is helping to beat the bugs!