Infection Prevention and Control Network meeting a first for the Northern region

4 Mar 2015 | Infection Prevention & Control

In February 2015, the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) programme, in conjunction with First, Do No Harm, held an all-day meeting with Northern region IPC nurse specialists from district health boards (DHBs) and private surgical hospitals, as well as DHB quality and risk and surgical representatives.

The Commission, Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ) and the Surgical Site Infection Improvement (SSII) programme provided updates and engaged with participants in discussions on regional networking, and maintaining and sustaining quality improvement at a local and regional level. They also discussed effective ways of using data to support practice change, consistent use of surveillance definitions and evidence-based interventions.

Karen O’Keefe, First, Do No Harm clinical lead, provided participants with an overview of the role of First, Do No Harm, and the activities they are already supporting to reduce healthcare associated infections in the Northern region. A key focus of the meeting was how to support the transition from centrally lead to regionally coordinated hand hygiene improvement initiatives. Louise Dawson, national Hand Hygiene Coordinator, with Karen O’Keefe and Dr Joshua Freeman, clinical lead HHNZ, led an interactive session using frontline ownership techniques on building existing networks and leading local improvement. Clear purpose, cooperative approach, patient-centred, shared goals, and communications emerged as the key components for a sustainable, effective network.

Improvement activities already underway in the region were a highlight of the meeting. Karen Bennett, Northland DHB, gave an excellent presentation on the innovative approach their DHB has taken to improve local hand hygiene practice using:

  • a multi-pronged approach with a focus on all professional groups and levels
  • a range of ideas and resources – polo-shirts, wall art, ‘thumbs’ (agar plating) studies
  • champions at all levels of the organisation
  • science of improvement methodology – including PDSA cycles to plan, test, and implement improvement
  • patient involvement.

Two important aspects of the Northland DHB approach have been to gain senior sponsorship for action, and to set an aspirational target of 90 percent – 10 percent above the national goal of 80 percent by June 2015. In addition frontline ownership and accountability with local teams is supported by the DHB's ‘Responsibility to Remind’ campaign, and a refreshed hand hygiene policy which requires staff to support one another in achieving consistently good hand hygiene practice. Progress is tracked and reported at the DHB level, with life-size cut-outs of hand hygiene champion Dr David Hammer, clinical microbiologist, driving home the message in wards and departments.

Waitemata DHB also shared the hand hygiene video they have created as a resource for frontline staff. It was specifically developed to improve the focus on hand hygiene among clinical staff, and specifically among doctors. It was developed and filmed with Waitemata DHB doctors as part of an education strategy to work with key audiences to tailor hand hygiene messages. The video can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Last updated 04/03/2015