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Women’s College Hospital’s infection prevention and control team celebrates Stop! Clean Your Hands Day

May 5, 2014

Stop! Have you cleaned your hands today? On May 5th, Stop! Clean Your Hands Day, Women’s College Hospital’s infection prevention and control (IP&C) team will be asking you if you’ve cleaned your hands.

“Hand hygiene is an integral part of stopping the spread of infections and germs, not only for healthcare professionals but for the general public as well,” said Katie Perkin, infection prevention and control practitioner, WCH. “Ensuring that you are cleaning your hands effectively, and at the right times, can help stop the spread of common illnesses such as the cold or the flu.”

The two most common methods for hand hygiene use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or warm water and soap. Hand sanitizers are the most common option, as they are readily available, convenient to use and very effective. However, when hands are visibly soiled, it is best to use warm water and soap.

Healthcare professionals are required to clean their hands at several points before, during and after patient contact. WCH places a strong emphasis on continuous education, to ensure that staff and patients alike understand the importance of regular hand hygiene.

“Our infection prevention and control team is very proud of staff efforts to continuously perform hand hygiene,” said Jessica Ng, manager, infection prevent and control, WCH. “Our compliance rate in the last quarter was 92 per cent and we are constantly trying to improve.”

An initiative that the IP&C team has used to monitor hand hygiene compliance rates is the patient-as-observer pilot project. The pilot project, which ran from August 2012 to June 2013, engaged patients to be a part of their care. Upon their visits, patients were given a survey card which asked them to monitor their healthcare professional and note down whether the healthcare professional cleaned their hands in front of the patient or not. The study noted that 88 per cent of healthcare professionals were more motivated to perform hand hygiene knowing that patients were watching them.

To celebrate Stop! Clean Your Hands Day, the IP&C team will host an event in the lobby, spreading awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and testing visitors on their hand hygiene knowledge.

Women’s College Hospital’s infection prevention and control team
Katie Perkin, Infection Prevention and Control practitioner and Jessica Ng, manager, Infection Prevention and Control invite you to celebrate Stop! Clean Your Hands Day on Monday, May 5.
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