Canterbury District Health Board is improving its hand hygiene performance, recording its highest score yet in the latest Hand Hygiene New Zealand report.
Canterbury DHB scored a total of 83.3 percent adherence to hand hygiene opportunities, above the national standard of 80 percent.
Mary Gordon, Canterbury DHB Executive Director of Nursing, says hand hygiene represents one of the most important measures in the fight against healthcare associated infections, making it a key patient safety issue. Public hospitals have been audited quarterly for their hand hygiene performance since June 2012.
"It's such an important issue the World Health Organisation (WHO) set a World Hand Hygiene Day for 5 May to encourage a continuing focus on the topic with health care workers, something Canterbury DHB uses as a focal point to get staff talking about hand hygiene at work," Mary says.
"Hand Hygiene is a vital part of our patient care and we have made a concerted effort to improve our performance in this area. We run educational campaigns for staff each year over the month of May and are eager to build on our recent audit results."
Canterbury has lifted its audited results significantly from 61.8 percent compliance in October 2014.
"The audits are not a measure of hand cleanliness but of compliance with the '5 moments of hand hygiene' recommended by WHO. The moments are: before patient contact, before a procedure, after a procedure or body fluid exposure risk, after patient contact and after contact with patient surroundings."
It's this last point that Canterbury DHB is raising particular awareness of this May.
Susan Wood, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, says it's important we remain vigilant to all the possible sites of contamination in our working environment, from keyboards in the clinical areas to patients' bedrails.
"Our staff are focussed on having clean hands and we also strongly encourage patients to ask staff to clean their hands if they notice a lapse – infection prevention is in everybody's interest," Susan says.
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