August 7, 2012
Think about all of the things that you touched today — from your alarm clock to the hand railing on the subway to your keyboard. It’s easy for harmful germs to get on your hands, but by frequently washing them, you can wash the germs away. Proper hand washing is the first line of defence against harmful germs and the single most effective way to prevent the spread of germs that may lead to illness. And at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) hand hygiene is an ongoing priority.
“Hand hygiene is an important practice for health-care providers and has a significant impact on reducing the spread of infections in hospitals,” said Jessica Ip, IP&C manager.
In 2011, WCH set a goal of 80 per cent hand hygiene compliance – which was not only met, but exceeded! Congratulations to all staff, physicians and volunteers who have demonstrated their commitment to a clean hands environment at WCH.
Now, the IP&C team is looking to reach a higher goal of 88 per cent or better. The idea is to improve and sustain hand hygiene compliance through a multifaceted program. One of the components of this program is to conduct ongoing observations of hand hygiene practices, with feedback to health-care providers.
“To ensure success, we regularly monitor hand hygiene performance at the point of care using a hand-held device and an innovative app called iScrub,” said Sheila Le-Abuyen, IP&C practitioner. “The application is simple to use and allows us to track our observations as we monitor hand hygiene practices.”
This past quarter, after identifying higher risk areas, the IP&C team has made their rounds and conducted direct observations of hand hygiene compliance. The Mohs Centre came up on top as superstar hand washers.
“In the Mohs unit we always emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene and I am very pleased with the success of the entire clinic,” said Dr. Nowell Solish, surgeon in the Mohs Centre.
Ip and Le-Abuyen remind all staff, physicians and volunteers, that while sometimes barriers may get in the way, such as lack of time, it’s essential to clean your hands with either soap and water or a sanitizing rub during any of the four moments for hand hygiene. For more information on the four moments for hand hygiene, visit: http://www.oahpp.ca/services/documents/jcyh/jcyh-for-hosptials/tools-for-implementation/4-moments-for-hand-hygiene-poster.pdf
“As an organization, we are committed to ongoing improvement and this means recognizing the importance of hand hygiene to protect patients, ourselves and our loved ones,” said Le-Abuyen. “Remember clean hands save lives, so let’s be great and hit 88!”
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