infection prevention with OPHARDT
Dr. Siegfried Steltenkamp at his presentation
Events Research

Infection prevention project proves dispensers can improve hand hygiene behavior for young and old

An international project involving OPHARDT Hygiene, concerning infection awareness for young and old, came to an end on Nov. 26. The closing event in Muenster Germany of the health-i-care and EurHealth-1Health projects showed interesting initial results.

The rise of multi-resistant pathogens poses major challenges to health care systems across the globe. This puts an added importance on developing solutions and ideas that effectively stop this trend as soon as possible. This is precisely where the EU INTERREG VA-funded health-i-care project becomes relevant. In the project category of Infection Prevention – One Health, renowned scientists and experts from Münster University Hospital, Canisius-Wilhelmina Ziekenhuis Nijmegen, Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen and OPHARDT Hygiene have developed innovative concepts and products for hand hygiene that aim to improve infection prevention.

Infection prevention for young and old

The subproject titled “young”, focused on infection prevention specifically with children. The researchers investigated age-appropriate and hygiene-motivating soap dispenser design, combined with knowledge transfer during lessons. The study included a total of 13 primary schools with 2,600 pupils in the Steinfurt district.

For effective teaching of skills and abilities on the subject of hand hygiene in childhood, basic, child-oriented knowledge of the importance of pathogen transmission, practical demonstrations and exercises and a dispenser design that supports the motivation to wash hands, on a long-term basis, and guides children to wash their hands properly are required.

Prof. Dr. Karsten Becker, Friedrich Loeffler-Institute for Medical Microbiology at the University Medical Centre Greifswald

The subproject “old” investigated the infection prevention and hand hygiene situation in the homes of older individuals. In this subproject, the influence of regular hygiene training courses for nursing staff and the introduction of continuous feedback on hand hygiene behaviour were analyzed. The aim of these measures was to raise awareness of the most important preventive measure against infections, hand hygiene. The decisive factor was the use of “intelligent” hygiene dispensers, which continuously and fully automatically recorded their activations.

Final event goes out with a suprise

On the 26th of November, participants of the project met at the final event of the cross-border project in Münster, Westphalia, to report on their experiences and results. The presentation from the subproject “young” showed, based on the first preliminary results, that the age-appropriate soap dispensers, together with a teaching accompanying knowledge transfer, had a positive effect on the hand washing behaviour of the children.

The child-friendly dispenser

The results largely coincide with the impressions that Ingard Borgel, headmaster at the St.-Antonius-Schule Hörstel-Bevergern, had to report at the final meeting. The students from classes 2, 3 and 4 followed her at the event, and were once again enthusiastic about the design of the hygiene dispenser and were allowed to test out being scientists during the event. The children examined the world of microbes in a small laboratory equipped with a microscope and Petri dishes. As a further highlight of the afternoon, the students from Hörstel-Bevergern, among others, drew the perfect soap dispenser for children and proudly presented their individual works to those present.

“For our primary school children, the soap dispenser and the corresponding instructions for washing their hands were a real attraction. The pupils have now internalized these steps and are making an active contribution to infection protection”.

Ingard Borgel, headmistress at the St.-Antonius-School Hörstel-Bevergern

The data collected from the nursing home project on the German and Dutch sides also show that the measures implemented had a positive effect on hand hygiene behaviour. Overall, the entire health-i-care project can be regarded as a success and an important milestone for the sustainable improvement of infection prevention.

Learn more about the subproject “young” of health-i-care project.

Learn more about the health-i-care project.

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