The War is On!

The War is On!

The well-trained, well-equipped Housekeeper is at the front-lines in the war against healthcare acquired infections and the WAR IS ON!
The housekeeper is honest, hard-working and often overlooked. She struggles to make ends meet; get the kids ready for school; worries about her husband’s work and shows up everyday with her uniform on.

As she clocks in and get’s to her assigned floor or patient care area, she wonders how Mrs. Simmons in 8707 is doing. Her husband and daughter looked very worried yesterday when she was in there cleaning. That’s the toughest part about this job; seeing people hurting and, at times, hopeless. That’s why she makes a promise to all of her patients and their loved ones every morning.

Armed with her cleaning products, hospital-approved disinfectant and microfiber wipers and mops, she promises every patient and their loved ones, “Not on my watch! MRSA, VRE and C-diff won’t get past me! I’m on guard, that I promise you!”

She doesn’t fight alone, but sometimes she feels like it.  Do you even know her name?  Have you bothered to get in the trenches with her?  Have you told her that you are a “band of brother (or sisters)”?  At times she sees the doctors, residents or nurses move around the room touching surfaces without gloves on; or worse, with gloves soiled with who knows what?  Even though she is nothing more than a “buck private”, she reminds those with higher rank, “Wash your hands like your mother told you when you were a little one on her knee!”

As she enters each patient’s room, she knows the enemy is in there. Sometimes they are visible in the blood splattered on the wall above the trash can. But most of the time, the enemy is invisible; but she knows they are there on every high touch surface. Carefully and meticulously the housekeeper does her hygienic cleaning as she takes careful aim at the antibiotic resistant organisms where they hide. She is confident that her training, weapons (cleaners and disinfectants) and dedication to her mission will win the war.

Will she win or not?  Will you join her in the battle? Your life or the life of a loved one may depend on her.  Patients aren’t statistics or collateral damage in the battle; they are mothers, fathers, grandparents, children of somebody or the best friend of another.

Because she is one of the “good guys”, I’m pulling for her to win the war on HAI’s; how about you?

About Darrel Hicks

J. Darrel Hicks, B.A., is the author of Wiley Publishing's "Infection Prevention For Dummies", and is nationally recognized as one of the top experts in infection control. Darrel Hicks is also the Past President of the IEHA and is an active member in AHE where he holds the designation of CHESP. View all posts by Darrel Hicks

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