Hand Washing – Getting It Right For Our Patients

Submitted by Joan Stalzer, MD, Augusta Health Hospitalists, and Tracy Sansossio, MSN, RN, Augusta Health Infection Control

It seems like an easy thing to do… just wash your hands. Although it’s not quite as simple as that. How is hand hygiene compliance measured? How are we doing as individuals, and as an organization? Here is some information to answer these important questions.

Some aspects of hand hygiene are not obvious. We must always wash our hands before and after the use of gloves. Soap and alcohol based hand rubs are both acceptable handwashing methods, although there are certain circumstances which require soap and water, specifically in patients with concern for Clostridium Difficile infection. View this video to ensure you are using the proper hand hygiene

Augusta Health has “secret shoppers” who routinely monitor hand hygiene. Below are the results of our hand washing compliance rates in 2017 across the organization.

In order to improve our compliance in hand hygiene, understanding the importance of this issue for our patients is paramount. Also, perhaps real time feedback would be helpful, although there is some hesitance for observers to directly confront health care providers for a variety of reasons. Perhaps capturing data and providing this information to staff would be helpful. For physicians, I think direct feedback of some type would be helpful and would motivate us to do better. We can each do our part by understanding proper hand hygiene, and making this part of our everyday practice.

In the spirit of improving hand hygiene, and to reduce multiple form of harm to patients, the UP Campaign has been created. Find out more about the UP Campaign below.

The UP Campaign

The UP Campaign was created for hospitals in the Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) – which Augusta Health is part of – to simplify care and streamline interventions to reduce multiple forms of harm with simple easy-to-accomplish activities, and consolidate basic interventions that cut across several topics to decrease harm. The UP Campaign is made up of these 4 components listed below.

SOAP-UP — Hardwire Hand Hygiene

WAKE-UP — Prevent over-sedation

GET-UP — Mobilize Patients

SCRIPT UP will come later this year

We are adding SPEAK-UP – Always be brave & advocate for Patient Safety!

The UP Campaign is specifically designed as a multi-disciplinary approach to reduce patient harms. Every discipline will be involved. There is a specific Physician Focus component.

Please visit http://www.hret-hiin.org/resources/display/the-up-campaign-physician-focus to learn more. We need your help, support and encouragement! Our HIIN Colleagues will help support our efforts, it is going to be an exciting year!

The Nursing Quality and Patient Safety Council will kick off the UP campaign during nursing Excellence Week, Mach 12-16, 2018. Be sure to visit us in the Blue Ridge Café’ on 3/16/18 for Fun Friday. We will have additional information available from 1100-1400. In the meantime, for information regarding the UP Campaign, please visit, http://www.hret-hiin.org/engage/up-campaign.shtml

If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Wilson, Kaitlin Farley, Emily Wyant, Talisa Snow, Tracy Sansossio and Denise Temple.