Clean Hands Save Lives

Clean Hands


Wash your hands How many dozens of times have you heard this? Did you stop listening to what may sound like a broken record? I ask you now to please take a minute to reflect on the real impact that unsanitary hands can have on you, your patients and your family. MRSA infections are on the rise outside of hospitals and it is more important than ever to be diligent about hand washing. Here’s a refresher for you:

Your skin constantly makes oil that stay on the surface. Germs stick to your skin by getting trapped in the oil. That is why it’s important to use soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Sanitizing gel is acceptable to use if you hands are not visibly soiled.

When to wash in the clinical setting:

  • Before direct contact with patients
  • Before donning sterile gloves for any procedure
  • After removing gloves
  • After contact with a pt’s intact skin
  • After contact with body fluids, excretions or mucous membranes
  • If moving from a contaminated body site to clean body site during patient care
  • After contact with inanimate objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient
  • Before eating or after using the restroom

When to wash in the home setting:

  • Before you insert or remove contact lenses
  • After handling raw foods
  • After you touch an animal or handle garbage
  • After you blow you nose
  • Whenever you care for an ill/injured person or animal
  • When children return home from school or play

How you do it makes a difference!

  • Use soap and warm running water
  • Take at least 15 seconds to do the washing (sing Happy Birthday to yourself)
  • Wash all surfaces, including wrist, palm, backs, between fingers and all around the fingernails
  • Use disposable paper towels

There is no time like now to renew good habits. Let’s all make it a priority to protect ourselves, our families and our patients with a personal commitment to consistently clean hands.


See video below:

Completing an MD Order

MD Order Form

One of the major causes of medication errors occurs between the person giving the orders, the understanding of what is said and the writing of the order. These miscommunications have the potential of being devastating to the client if a wrong medication or dose is given. This is especially true when one considers the majority of our clients are pediatric and even the smallest error can impact the outcome of the client.

This new form will remind us and prompt us to gather the information more accurately, completely and with additional safe guards to ensure the clarity of all orders. Please replace the old forms in the home with the new ones we have devised.


  1. Complete the client’s name and date of birth.
  2. Complete the name, address, phone number and fax number of the physician responsible for the orders.
  3. Remember to write the orders without the use of the prohibited abbreviations as listed on the form.
  4. Write the orders down on the form LEGIBLY.
  5. Read back orders to the physician or their delegate to confirm accuracy. This means you have written the order down and are READING it back not just repeating it back.
  6. Keep in mind and pay close attention if any of the orders contain any look alike or sound alike medications.
  7. Spell back all medications if there is any question of their spelling.
  8. Indicate who gave the order. Get their first and last names and credentials. Place this information in the area: “Orders given by..” Date the order.
  9. Sign the order with your credentials and date it.
  10. Check the box indicating that you did indeed read the orders back to verify accuracy.
  11. Indicate the purpose of the medication/order on the MD order form: “Client status/reason for order.”
  12. Determine the purpose of the medication before administration.
  13. Complete the loop: provide the new orders to the oncoming care- givers, include a copy of the order in the chart, add the new order onto medications administration sheets or task sheets as appropriate, include the information in the communication book, report the new order verbally to the next caregiver and why it was ordered, inform suppliers if needed, send the original into the office.
  14. AND don’t forget to provide instruction and education to the client/caregiver regarding a new medication, side effects, adverse reactions, dosage, etc.
  15. Indicate you teaching directly on the MD order form.

By Janet Fulfs, President

Also, please see video below:


Nursing Talk

Dear Cassandra:

My husband says I should wear “sensible” shoes to work. My shoe collection could rival that of Imelda Marcos. I have three inch stiletto heels, platform shoes, sandals, wedges, mules, ballerina slippers, flip flops, Crocs, flats, cowboy boots, and more.

When I was a teenager, I considered becoming a Dominican nun. My teacher, Sister Mary Catherine, invited me to visit the motherhouse and to learn about the life of a novitiate. I could accept the habit, the celibacy, the prayer, the silence, the service to others. But the shoes! How could I spend my entire life in lace-up black shoes?

What do you think?



Dear Diane:

A recent study revealed that the average woman buys 469 pair of shoes during her lifetime for a total cost of $25,000. Your fascination with shoes does seem excessive even by those standards.

Before you end up in the hospital with a broken ankle or sprained back because you slipped on ice in a driveway or tripped over toys on the floor at your client’s house, listen to your husband. Wear sensible shoes to work. No high heels, no open toe shoes, no sandals, no flip flops. Besides, painted toe nails in open toe sandals don’t look good covered with vomit.


Note: First published on American Home Health's news, August 2010. 


Emission Testing
Emission Testing


 It’s funny how sometimes you find out important things simply by accident.  You are at the beauty shop or barber shop.  The conversations revolve around the presidential debates, the Super Bowl, upcoming vacations, and new grandchildren.  Then someone mentions something that can impact every driver in the state of Illinois.  WHOA!


The Illinois EPA and the Secretary of State’s office are also implementing a change in the enforcement process of the testing program, as required by Public Act 94-0848.  Beginning in January, 2008, vehicles must pass an emissions test or otherwise comply with the Illinois Vehicle Inspection Law of 2005 before the registration (license plate) can be renewed.  Previously, the program was enforced through the suspension of drivers’ licenses and vehicles’ registration.

Due to these changes, some vehicles will be required to comply prior to the expiration date printed on the current Vehicle Inspection Report or Emissions Test Certificate.  Generally, vehicles over four years old will still need to be tested every two years (even model year vehicles during even calendar years and odd model year vehicles during odd calendar years).

For more information about vehicle emissions test enforcement and your license plates, go to the Illinois EPA Web site at .         

by Karen Centowski



COULD YOU USE A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY? Did you waste your last dollars playing the multi-million-dollar lottery?  Have you sold your old hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, useless knickknacks, and old clothing at a garage sale just to make a few bucks?  Here’s an idea for you.  Check the Illinois Dash for Cash at

Illinois Cash
Illinois Cash

The law that created the unclaimed property program was established in the early 1960s as a consumer protection initiative.  Illinois Dash for Cash was formerly called Cash Dash.  It was renamed in 2012.  The state currently has $2.1 billion in cash plus contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes to be returned to Illinois residents.  One in eight Illinois residents has an asset to be claimed in Illinois Dash for Cash.  One in four Illinois adults who searches the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Dash for Cash database finds property to claim, and the average claim is $1,000.

The Illinois State Treasurer attempts to return unclaimed or abandoned property to the owners or heirs.  Unclaimed property is money or assets that have been separated from the owner for at least five years.  Often the owner doesn’t know the property exists.  Examples include inactive savings and checking accounts; unpaid wages or commissions; stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; money orders and bill overpayments; paid up life insurance policies; and safe deposit box contents.

The Illinois State Treasurer auctions some of the contents of safe deposit boxes on eBay.  Items for sale include jewelry, coins, baseball cards, and other collectibles.  The money generated by the auction is held for the owners of the property.

Certain items found in safe deposit boxes are not auctioned.  For example, firearms are not auctioned.  Coins with a numismatic value are not auctioned.

If you find your name on the database of unclaimed property, print out a claim form and mail it to the unclaimed property division.  Submit the requested documentation along with your completed claim form to the following:

Illinois State Treasurer’s Office
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 19495
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9495

While you are on the Web site (, look up the names of family members and relatives.  You might be surprised to learn what unclaimed property exists in the name of a deceased family member or relative.  One of my family members died in 1996 at the age of ninety-five.  The will was probated, and all known assets were distributed according to the terms of the will.

Now, twenty years later, three small checks totaling $84.00 were listed on  The checks were refunds/overpayments from healthcare providers.  A copy of the death certificate was required as documentation.

by Karen Centowski