Staff members on Ward A1 are proactive about hand hygiene promotion and

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board
Hand hygiene ward of the quarter, May 2012

Since their first hand hygiene audit in 2009, the team on ward A1 at Hawke’s Bay DHB have shown steady and consistent improvement in their hand hygiene performance.

As an acute medical ward specialising in renal, respiratory and general medical conditions, the team look after complex patients with multiple problems who often have extended lengths of stay.

But they are also dedicated to improving and sustaining good hand hygiene behaviour as a way to protect their patients from developing a healthcare associated infection.

“Good hand hygiene is incredibly important to us and to our patients,” says Sarah Henderson, Associate Clinical Nurse Manager on Ward A1.

“As a team we are proactive about hand hygiene promotion and education, and make a concerted effort to raise awareness about when each hand hygiene moment should be performed. This includes placing signage promoting the five moments at each bed head as a visual reminder to staff,’ she says.

Infection Control Liaison Nurse, Tanya Hancock, worked with the ward to initiate an infection control notice board in the ward to educate and inform all staff about the importance of good hand hygiene.

“The board is updated two to three monthly and in conjunction with seasons, such as influenza, or audit events. It’s been very successful, the board is eye catching, innovative, and is perused by staff, visitors and patients,” says Sarah.

“We also have two hand hygiene champions on the ward who attend infection control study days and update ward staff on what they have learnt. They keep a close eye on hand hygiene behaviour and help to encourage improvement,” she adds.

To increase compliance, hand rub is available at the ward entrance and at every bed space. The team also encourage patients and family to use the rub, educating them about hand hygiene as they go about their work.

The ward also undergoes monthly hand hygiene audits and results are fed back to staff with goals for improvements.

According to Barbara McPherson, Hawke’s Bay DHB Hand Hygiene Coordinator, cross infection rates have markedly decreased in this high risk ward since the initiatives have been implemented.

“The team on ward A1 have worked really hard to improve hand hygiene behaviour. They have developed an approach that works for them as a team and that is sustainable, which will allow good hand hygiene to become ‘business as usual’ and will allow for continued improvement to performance,” she says.