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Handwashing is up to us

"Handwashing is the first line of defence to prevent infectious diseases," says Dr. Shauna Hudson, Medical Health Officer for Sun Country Health Region (SCHR).

Frequent hand washing with either soap and water or alcohol hand rub is one of the most important measures the general public and health care professionals can take to reduce infections and the spread of disease, she says.

"Today, the prevention and control of infections is everybody's business," she says.

The importance of hand washing will be highlighted during National Infection Control Week, October 16-20, with the theme: Infection Prevention Planning for Tomorrow; and during Canadian Patient Safety Week, October 20-27. The theme during that week is:Patient Safety: It's in Your Hands. Clean them well. Clean them often."

SCHR is combining these two important weeks this year to highlight the continued importance of hand hygiene for health care workers and the general public.

The Region's hand hygiene initiatives began in 2003 with the implementation of the Infection Control Program.

One of the initiatives was to install alcohol hand gel units at the entrances and down the patient wings in all health care facilities in the Region, to allow for easier access for staff and visitors.

This year, the Region will install Infection Control Stations in each health care facility, where supplies such as paper tissues, masks, alcohol hand rub containers and the latest up-to-date information on infection control will be visible for patients, staff and visitors to use and read.

For more information on National Infection Control Week, please call Michelle Luscombe, Infection Control Nurse at 739-5212 or Dr. Shauna Hudson, Medical Health Officer for Sun Country Health Region at 842-8618.

For more information on Canadian Patient Safety Week, please call Dianne Green, Quality of Care Coordinator, for SCHR at 637-3642.

Background Information:

The Community and Hospital Infection Control Association of Canada (CHICA-Canada) is a national, multi-disciplinary, voluntary association of Infection Control Professionals (ICPs) with 19 chapters across the country dedicated to the health of Canadians by promoting excellence in the practice of infection prevention and control. Infection Control Professionals play a critical role in safeguarding the health of Canadians: patients in hospitals, residents in long-term care facilities, children in day cares, students in schools and people in the community. More information is available at

Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) is a national campaign initiated in 2005 to raise awareness of patient safety and related programs and initiatives being undertaken across the country at the national, regional, local and organizational level. Canadian Patient Safety Week is a celebration of the strong commitment Canadian health care organizations have made to improving patient safety. More information is available at and

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