With healthcare-related infections ranking high on the list of concerns amongst hospitals, the Handwashingforlife Institute offers some help.
With a plethora of resources, including workshops, instructional videos, posters, programs ideas, and the organization’s Hands-On process management tool—providing a structured approach to managing hand and surface hygiene—hospitals and long-term care facilities can surely improve staff handwashing statistics.
Founded by Jim Mann, who co-chairs the Coalition for Clean Hands, Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, Handwashingforlife is a professional non-profit organization, committed to helping the healthcare and food service industries cut down their infection rates.
Sharing some rather creative best practices, a number of infection control specialists—and members of the organization—were happy to share programs that have succeeded in improving physician handwashing rates in their hospitals.
For example, Kaiser Permanente California has established the following vital behaviors for promoting the organization’s culture in hygiene:
- Gel In and Gel Out. Encourage caregivers to use hand sanitizers every time they enter or exit the unit.
- Notice and Speak Up. When someone doesn’t wash/sanitize, remind them immediately.
- Say Thanks. When reminded to wash/sanitizer, say “Thank You.”
Meanwhile, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, California, Leslie Stanfield, director of infection control, has recruited a group of 34 liaisons to collect handwashing data. For individual doctors who are performing poorly, the team then posts personalized data within that physician’s unit. In addition, nurses are encouraged to give offending doctors a paper with hand hygiene guidelines as a way to remind them to wash up.
“This has made a world of difference,” reports Stanfield. “I also report hand hygiene statistics for residents directly to their teaching physicians and their hand hygiene went from 33% to 100%, so it was a big win for us.”
Taking a more playful approach, Union Hospital of Cecil County in Elkton, Maryland, kicked off its handwashing campaign with an “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” Beatles knock-off song entitled, “We Always Wash Our Hands.”
Handprints with signatures were then collected and posted from the healthcare staff who committed themselves to the hand hygiene program. “We then turned the data into a horse race, the doctors vs. the nurses, and it’s been very successful,” relates Cheryl Hewlet, an infection preventionist with the hospital.
For more success stories, see: http://www.handwashingforlifehealthcare.com/home/members-speak.