Celebrating hand hygiene at Southern DHB

20 Aug 2015 | Infection Prevention & Control

Southern District Health Board (DHB) is celebrating success after achieving 85.4 percent hand hygiene compliance in the latest Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ) audit.

Southern DHB staff cut the 80 percent compliance celebration cake.

Cutting the 80 percent cake celebrating hand hygiene champions across the country: Jo Stodart (right) with Dr Josh Freeman, clinical lead for the hand hygiene programme (left), and Dr Sally Roberts, national clinical lead for the IPC programme (centre).

When Southern DHB began concentrating on hand hygiene improvement in 2009, compliance rates at the DHB averaged just 35 percent, making the results of the latest audit even sweeter as Southern DHB tops the country at 85.4 percent.

Jo Stodart, charge nurse for Southern DHB’s Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) service puts the steady improvement down to a number of factors.

‘We have great senior support for the programme and a strong commitment to the "5 moments for hand hygiene". We’ve had a core membership of gold auditors who have grown in the role and developed the confidence to foster "frontline ownership" among staff in our wards and departments.’

Chocolate cake 'high five to our 80 percent hand hygiene champions'

Making hand hygiene ‘everyone’s business’ can be a daunting challenge, but Jo and her colleagues have taken the approach of ‘getting on with it and ironing out the issues as we go along’.

‘We wanted to be on the front foot, not the back foot, and as we’ve gone along, more and more people have come on board,’ says Jo.

Jo says having support from Southern DHB's Director of Quality, Tina Gilbertson, has been instrumental in increasing compliance. Tina sends out a weekly report highlighting local results for each ward and department which is disseminated by IPC representatives.

‘When you put the data out there, people really respond. We started in a “softly, softly” way but we soon realised that a little bit of competition between wards was a valuable tool.’

In 2010 Otago and Southland DHBs were merged to become Southern DHB. Both DHBs were participating in the HHNZ programme and, since the merger, have continued to build their systems and raise the profile of hand hygiene, to now be leading the way nationally.

Last updated 20/08/2015