National and local statistics that measure hand hygiene compliance for district health board staff were released recently, and they show a significant improvement across the country.
Waikato District Health Board (DHB) hit a high of 80.9 per cent compliance in the report for the 1 April to 30 June 2015 quarter, issued by the Health Quality and Safety Commission and Hand Hygiene New Zealand.
This exceeds the 80 percent national compliance target for the period, and is the highest for Waikato DHB since the reporting started in 2013.
Waikato was one of 10 district health boards that exceeded the target in the quarter.
The statistics are gathered through a “gold” auditing process that records the five moments for hand hygiene as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Those moments are: before touching a patient, before a procedure, after a procedure or body fluid exposure risk, after touching a patient, and after touching a patient’s surroundings.
Vicki Parry, Waikato DHB’s charge nurse manager Infection Prevention and Control, says Waikato DHB’s improving results come from a persistent approach to promoting the importance of hand hygiene to staff over a number of years.
“It is now becoming a habit, just part of the normal routine for staff, rather than a special issue they have to think about. They audit and correct hand hygiene practice during their daily activities.”
“Front line ownership, local auditing and having the hand gel readily available has really made the difference,” she says. “Staff have really taken responsibility and ownership for hand hygiene in their areas.”
She says the DHB’s next target is working towards 85 per cent compliance.
If patients or visitors are not sure, they should feel free to ask staff if they have washed their hands. It is all part of increasing hand hygiene compliance and awareness at Waikato DHB.