'Handshake-free zones' may be coming to health care settings

'Handshake-free zones' may be coming to health care settings

(HealthDay)—Regulations to restrict handshakes in the health care setting, along with more robust hand hygiene programs, may help limit the spread of disease, according to a viewpoint published online May 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mark Sklansky, M.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues acknowledge that the handshake has a profound cultural role and holds interpersonal significance, as well as commercial importance. While providers' handshakes with patients can be perceived as signs of compassion, they can also spread germs.

The authors propose that lessons from smoking bans should be applied to handshakes. Given that warnings of smoking's harms and subsequent bans were able to cut a deeply entrenched habit, the same may be possible with handshakes. "Handshake-free zones" should be established along with educational programs and signage. A replacement gesture may need to be adopted also.

"Removing the handshake from the setting may ultimately become recognized as an important way to protect the health of patients and caregivers, rather than as a personal insult to whoever refuses another's hand," the authors write.

More information: Full Text

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smoking bans linked to improvement in tobacco use

Dec 30, 2013

(HealthDay)—Smoking bans in the home and city/town are significantly associated with smoking reduction and making a quit attempt, according to a study published online Nov. 26 in Preventive Medicine.

Can a simple handshake predict cancer survival rates?

Feb 26, 2014

New acquaintances are often judged by their handshake. Research has now recognized the simple squeeze as an important diagnostic tool in assessing strength and quality of life among critical care patients.

Recommended for you

'Tis the season to overeat

23 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

23 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

Irish court mulls rights of dead woman vs. fetus

Dec 24, 2014

A lawyer representing a 17-week-old fetus living inside the clinically dead body of its mother told a Dublin court Wednesday that the unborn child's right to life trumps the woman's right to a dignified death.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.