Hygiene Healthcare

Strategic dispenser placement important for hand hygiene in hospitals


Healthcare professionals take pride in taking the best possible care of their patients. An important duty is to practice good hand hygiene in order to minimize cross-contamination and the spread of healthcare-associated infections. The World Hand Hygiene day, 5th of May* is aimed at supporting healthcare professionals in achieving and maintaining high hand hygiene compliance. Research shows that hand hygiene dispensers have an impact on compliance rates . To help healthcare institutions maximize positive hygiene impact, Essity and its global hygiene brand Tork® have created visual inspiration for supporting hospitals in dispenser placement decisions.

What matters most isn’t putting up more dispensers, but making sure they are correctly placed. In fact, studies show that optimizing dispenser placement  can increase usage by more than 50 %, and that simply increasing the number of dispensers has a smaller impact on usage than keeping the same number of dispensers but making them more prominently visible. 

“Nurses can walk miles during a single shift; they shouldn’t have to go out of their way to get to the hand hygiene dispenser” said Tom Bergin, Marketing Director for the AfH Professional Hygiene business at Essity North America.. 

Inspirational visuals                                                                                                                                         

Every hospital is unique; to truly optimize dispenser placement a work-flow study is needed. However, these inspirational guides can help with some general principles.  The information in the placement guide is based on both Essity-sponsored research and independent findings from academic research. The guide is built around visualizations of four common types of areas commonly found in hospitals. The visualizations suggest possible dispenser placements which support hand hygiene compliance with the important WHO 5 Moments in mind.*

The hospital entrance                                                                                                                                                           

Few visitors perform hand hygiene when entering the hospital . Solutions in the entrance could be important for supporting and educating visitors. 

•    Position the dispenser in a clearly visible location near the entrance
•    Provide clear and simple information about hand hygiene directed at visitors 

The semi-private patient room                                                                                                                                                                                      

This type of room requires more than one dispenser to provide enough convenience in use. 

•    Consistent and familiar locations in every room eliminate the need to look for dispensers – in one study, dispensers located near sinks and at the entrance of the room were used more frequently.
•    Consider placing dispensers near each patient so that caregiver focus on the patient can be maintained during the entire interaction.

The private patient room                                                                                                                                                 

Dispensers that are clearly visible and located where care is frequently performed will be used more. 

•    Install dispensers on “walking routes”; avoid placing dispensers out of the way, behind objects or out of sight.
•    Dispensers should be immediately visible when entering the room

The nurse station                                                                                                                                                                         

Nurses need to perform very frequent hand hygiene. Therefore, the nurse station should offer excellent hand hygiene possibilities.

•    Many patient care episodes begin or end at the nursing station; dispensers placed near the station entrance are usually conveniently placed on a walking route
•    In an Essity-sponsored study, dispensers placed by the nurse station were used more frequently than dispensers placed on the wall behind patient beds.

Healthcare workers are busy people. Getting the job done under pressure requires ready access to hygiene essentials: doctors and nurses say they want dispensers to be visible when they enter a room, and they don’t want to go out of their way to get to them. 

Link to high-res images: https://www.webcargo.net/l/0p0yhkPs8S/    

For additional information please contact:   
Kortney Easterly  |  Weber Shandwick  |  212-445-8079  |  keasterly@webershandwick.com

About Tork®
The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of Essity, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: www.TorkUSA.com (or Tork.ca)

About Essity

Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company that develops, produces and sells Personal Care (Baby Care, Feminine Care, Incontinence Products and Medical Solutions), Consumer Tissue and Professional Hygiene products and solutions. More information at www.essity.com.

  Boog, Matthijs C., Vicki Erasmus, Jitske M De Graaf, Elise (A) He Van Beeck, Marijke Melles, and Ed F Van Beeck. Assessing the Optimal Location for Alcohol-based Hand Rub Dispensers in a Patient Room in an Intensive Care Unit.  BMC Infect Dis BMC Infectious Diseases 13.1 (2013): 510. 
  Thomas BW, Berg-Copas GM, Vasquez DG, Jackson BL, Wetta-Hall R. Conspicuous vs Customary Location of Hand Hygiene Agent Dispensers on Alcohol-Based Hand Hygiene Product Usage in an Intensive Care Unit. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2009;109(5):263-267.
  Murray R1, Chandler C, Clarkson Y, Wilson N, Baker M, Cunningham R. Sub-optimal hand sanitiser usage in a hospital entrance during an influenza pandemic, New Zealand, August 2009. Eurosurveillance Edition  2009: Volume 14/ Issue 37  Article 1

Essityis a participant in the Private Organisations for Patient Safety (POPS) initiative facilitated by WHO.

Every year on May 5th, the World Health Organization raises the importance of hand hygiene through the campaign SAVE LIVES:
Clean Your Hands.
The focus this year will be to improve hand hygiene practices in all surgical services through the continuum of care, from surgical wards to operating theatres, to outpatient surgical services.

* For more information and downloads of educational material please visit;

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