The Canterbury District Health Board
(CDHB) is introducing a simple, cost-neutral infection control practice in all
of its facilities using a colour coding system for pillows.
Pillows used to support a patient’s head
will soon have blue pillowcases, while pillows used to support other parts of
the body will have only white pillowcases. This is to ensure pillows touching
the body do not contact with the head.
Mary Gordon, Canterbury District Health
Board Executive Director of Nursing, says an easy way to remember is to think
‘blue for the head when making the bed’.
The idea for blue pillowcases originated
from discussions between infection control staff and Te
Komiti Whakarite (Māori advisory committee).
“From the outset, both parties could see multiple benefits from the new
practice, but the support of the Canterbury Laundry Service has been the key to
making it happen,” Mary says.
“The beauty of this idea is its
simplicity and that it delivers positive outcomes for everyone. Firstly, it
applies good infection control principles and importantly, it is more respectful
towards Māori cultural values.”
The new system will have no additional
capital cost to the CDHB as blue pillowcases replace older white pillowcases
through an ongoing renewal programme.
“Some resource will be needed for staff
education initially, but this is expected to be offset over time by the
potential benefits of reduced cross-infection,” Mary says.
Tahu Potiki Stirling of Nga Ratonga Hauora Māori/Māori
Health Services says he is pleased
to see the blue pillowcases initiative underway.
“The head is
considered to be Tapu (sacred) in Māori culture. This
initiative demonstrates the
Canterbury District Health Board is attuned to Tikanga
Māori – our cultural needs, beliefs and traditions. It is reassuring for both
Māori and Pakeha to know that the CDHB is also committed to better health
through minimising the chances of infection spreading while under their care,”
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