(STUDY FINDS) -- PHILADELPHIA — Who knew that hospital employees washing their hands may actually help spread infections? As hospital personnel of all levels know, hand hygiene is of paramount importance. However, a study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System finds that shallow hospital sinks can cause contaminants from dirty faucets to splash out and infect nearby objects or people.
The research team analyzed eight different sink designs in four intensive care units (ICUs) in order to gauge the cleanliness of the average hospital sink and faucet. They found that a shallow sink bowl depth can enable potentially contaminated water to splash onto patient care items and equipment, healthcare worker hands, and patient care areas. Sometimes, these contaminants were able to reach objects more than four feet away from the sink!