Thursday, November 16, 2017
Proper hand washing technique
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We all know how to wash our hands, however, sometimes we do not use the correct technique. I see this often in public restrooms. I was in a restaurant recently. I went to the restroom and while I was there, an employee came in and washed his hands. I noted three errors in his technique. There is one useful rule when hand washing in public places. That rule is to not touch anything dirty with your clean hands. The important part is not washing your hands. It is what you touch with those hands after they are clean. For example, in the physicians office there are rules to hand washing. You turn on the water and you wash your hands with soap for at least 15 seconds. That is about three times as long as most people do. When you are finished, you dry your hands with a paper towel and you use that paper towel to turn the water off because the faucet handle is dirty since you used your dirty hands to turn it on. It should not be much different in a public restroom. Some public restrooms have automatic faucets which is good because there isnt a dirty handle to turn off. Some public restrooms also have automatic soap dispensers which is not a huge issue. You will be washing your hands after touching the dispenser and you will not touch it again with clean hands. After you have washed your hands there are several things to avoid touching so you will not get them dirty again. Ideally, you will have paper towels, however, it depends on the towel dispenser. If it is motion activated, you do not have to touch the dirty dispenser with your clean hands. If it is one where the towels hang down to be ripped off the same is true. However, there are some dispensers that require you to push on a handle to dispense the towels. In those cases, you need to push on the handle before you wash your hands which will allow you to only touch the clean towel when you are finished unless someone comes in after you and runs their hands through the water to steal your towel. You then use the paper towel to turn off the dirty faucet if it is not automatic. You should then use the same paper towel to open the dirty door before discarding it into the trash. All of this means that the only thing touching all of these dirty surfaces is the paper towel. For restrooms with an air hand dryer, it is a little more complex. You still have to deal with turning off the faucet. Logically speaking, any restroom with an air only hand dryer should have automatic faucets, otherwise they are forcing you to touch the dirty faucet with your clean hands. In those situations, there is still the issue of opening the door that has a dirty handle. If the door pushes out, you can push on an area that is likely to be little used. If you have to pull it open with a handle, then you are in trouble. Your best bet is to carry hand wipes or sanitizing solution with you. That way when you are through washing your hands, you can actually clean them.

Lunch Bunch Lecture is Dec. 8 Learning to Love Your Aging Self will be the topic of Delaware Hospices Lunch Bunch Lecture with Dr. Judy Pierson on Friday, Dec. 8 at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. Lunch, which is $5, is from noon to 12:30 p.m. The free presentation is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. From sore joints to feeling left behind technologically to senior moments, aging presents unique challenges. In a society that worships youth it is easy to lose sight of some of the pluses of getting older. These can include less concern about what others think to the wisdom that can only come with experience to greater clarity about your priorities. Join us as we examine the benefits of getting older and how to age gracefully or disgracefully. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited. Register by Thursday, Dec. 7, by contacting Michele August at 746-4503 or email

Norris promoted to director Nanticoke Health Services is proud to announce that Victoria Norris, RN, BSN, has been promoted to director of quality management. Norris will be responsible for directing all quality-related activities within Nanticoke Health Services. This includes patient safety, accreditation readiness, infection prevention, program development, and quality measures within Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and the Nanticoke Physician Network. Norris began her career at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in November 2010 as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She has over 40 years of experience in healthcare with 20 years of critical care nursing. She also brings over 20 years of leadership experience in various administrative positions including the director of ICU and director of clinical services for a community hospital, and the director of nursing for an acute rehabilitation facility. Norris received her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from Towson University in Towson, Md. and has extensive training in nursing and quality leadership, intensive care and acute rehabilitation nursing, and stroke systems. Her professional affiliations include the Delaware State Stroke Coalition, the American Heart Association Stroke Boot Camp Steering Committee, Delawares Inclusive Statewide Stroke Care System, the Delaware Telehealth Coalition, and the National Association for Healthcare Quality.