History of the CleanYourHands Logo


Open Letter was formed because we believe:

  • Hospitals know that controlling MRSA is important.
  • Hospitals know that cleaning hands between each patient contact is the key to reducing nosocomial infections.  more
  • Hospitals spend millions of dollars each year on hand hygiene - consultants, training materials, employee training, research, and etc.
  • Health care professionals, for most, know the importance of cleaning hands between patients.
  • Most research we have read say that when workloads are slow to normal hospitals do better than when workloads are heavy.
  • Alcohol rubs are more effective and quicker than antibacterial soap and gloves do not offer the protection most patients think.  more
  • There are several good websites that promote good patient safety practices for hospitals.  'Patient Safety' guidelines for patients are not as easily found on the web. 
  • The above is NOT effective enough.  We need YOUR HELP.

In summary, we believe that researchers have identified the problem of hospital infection spread.  And, hospitals are trying to work in the hand hygiene compliance within their budgets and workload.  And yet, we have not seen evidence that hand washing percentages are getting better. b50 We believe the expression of personal hand hygiene will increase healthcare worker hand hygiene.

So why did startup?

We were told by a hospital attending that our daughter was infected with their strain of MRSA.  We lost our daughter.  I began gathering facts.  I had never heard of MRSA.  I was astounded at the well known knowledge about this problem by health care professionals.   I began studying 'Patient Safety' guidelines.  The RID website has some great guidelines.  Most references to 'Patient Safety' in web searches relate to health care professionals and how they can help make the patients safe.  Not the same thing as patients taking an active role in their safety.  This is something that I found hard to do.

I decided that the next time I go to the doctor I was going to ask them to wash their hands, unless they had already washed.  I found it very intimidating to ask everyone that came into my exam room to wash their hands.  After all, I didn't know if they had just washed their hands, unless they washed in front of me.   And, some employees came in and left without touching me.  I was so focused on their hand hygiene that I was not focused on the reason I came to the doctor.  This is not good either.

I found my personal solution and I want to pass my method on to you.  Remembered these old adages "Reward then criticize", and "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".

I made business cards that had "Thank you for cleaning your hands" and on the backside I listed a very, very short summary of this website.  Next time, I had plenty of cards.

As a health care professional approaches me I hand them a card and say "Thank you for cleaning your hands"

 This was easy for me to say and they respected me for acknowledging their good hand hygiene.  I believe that a missing link to national good hand hygiene could be praise and acknowledgment from patients.

Hand them a card even if they didn't wash their hands.  And watch what happens.

Now, we make these cards up in packets of 5 cards.  We have started handing these out to our friends and strangers with instructions on how they can be used. We are going to expand these efforts.

You can make your own Action Cards or they are available for a donation on this website.  see More