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A San Diego hospital is teaching the international healthcare community about the importance of washing hands through its award-winning film “Clean Hands Save Lives”. Paradise Valley Hospital garnered national attention when its video was selected as the first runner-up at the 2011 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Film Festival in Baltimore.

The goal of the festival, which was held during the Annual APIC Education Conference and International Meeting, was to encourage the creation of videos that promote safe practices in hospitals to protect patients. Nearly 40 videos were submitted and Paradise Valley’s video was one of only four films selected for recognition.

Paradise Valley’s compelling video features the “clean hands save lives” phrase repeated in different languages—ranging from English and Spanish to Hindi and Tigrinyan—highlighting the diversity of the hospital’s staff.

The film focuses on the importance of hand washing because every year, more than 2 million patients become ill due to hospital-acquired infections. This leads to an average of 90,000 preventable deaths a year in the U.S. Proper hand hygiene is critical to help prevent those infections.

“Hand washing seems like such a fundamental thing to know for healthcare professionals,” said Sherilyn Fagan, infection control manager, at Paradise Valley. “But knowing and doing are different things. Unless you are really diligent with your hand hygiene, you could very easily spread the infection to a lot of people in no time at all.”

Fagan added that she noticed a major improvement in hand-washing compliance since the Paradise Valley Hospital staff and physicians participated in the video. “Now, hopefully, we can contribute to improving hand-washing compliance on a national level,” she said.

In addition to “Clean Hands Save Lives,” Paradise Valley staff also submitted two other “music-style” videos, “Pump It!” and “Wash It!” that can be viewed at the following YouTube links:

Clean Hands Save Lives: