Children's hospital takes a tough stand on hand hygiene

29th of December 2016
Children's hospital takes a tough stand on hand hygiene

A paediatric hospital in the US achieved dramatic results after taking a tough stand on hand hygiene among its staff.

The Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio decided drastic action was needed after seeing a spike in hospital-acquired infections. Self-reported surveys indicated that the unit had good hand hygiene standards. But when hospital chiefs covertly monitored hand washing and sanitising habits they discovered that compliance rates were below 60 per cent.

"We knew what we were doing to date was not working so we looked at ways of dramatically getting hand hygiene high on everyone's agenda," said Dr Terrance Davis, assistant to the chief medical officer.

Staff were made to attend a drill where they were told that anyone who failed to meet 90 per cent compliance rates would be called in front of their superiors to explain why.

The hospital also re-positioned its sanitiser gel dispensers after realising that many were inconveniently placed around the hospital. Units were relocated inside patients' rooms and behind doors as well as along corridors and outside the entrances to lifts.

Healthcare-acquired infection rates dropped significantly following these moves while hand hygiene compliance rates hit 90 per cent within a month - and stayed that way for six years. Davis has now published the results of the intervention in the Journal of Patient Safety.

"We didn't know how effective it would be but it turns out it's pretty embarrassing to be called to the principal's office to explain why you're not doing your job," he said.



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