District health boards celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day

20 May 2016 | Infection Prevention & Control

District health boards (DHBs) across the country celebrated World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5 in a range of ways.

Staff celebrating hand hygiene day at Waikato DHB.

Acute Medical Unit team at Waikato DHB, winners of the ‘Most innovative placement’ of new hand hygiene promotional material.

Waikato DHB used the day as a chance to gather feedback on new hand hygiene promotional resources. The acute medical unit team converted the new laminated cards into hats and won a competition for the ‘most innovative placement’ of the new material.

Infection prevention and control (IPC) representatives at Hutt Valley DHB made morning tea for staff which included hand-shaped biscuits, and cupcakes decorated with hands made of icing. 

Promotional material from the hand hygiene staff at Hutt Valley DHB.

Paper hand awards, spot prizes and hand-shaped biscuits were part of World Hand Hygiene Day at Hutt Valley DHB.

The team handed out spot prizes to people seen performing hand hygiene (including visitors and patients) using hand-shaped certificates, some of which came with a coffee voucher.

Auckland DHB combined a focus on surgical site infections and the achievements of the Surgical Site Infection Improvement Programme with the promotion of its pilot project, ‘Take a Moment’. The project is a reinvigoration of the World Health Organization’s ‘5 moments for hand hygiene’ and has been trialled this year in Auckland City Hospital’s medical wards.

Auckland DHB staff celebrate hand hygiene day at a display stand.

From left: Auckland DHB’s Joanne Gibbs (director provider), Tessa Grant (hand hygiene lead), Lester Levy (board chair), Ailsa Clair (chief executive) and John Camu (nurse specialist).

South Canterbury DHB featured a banner on the staff intranet so that staff logging in were reminded of World Hand Hygiene day; WHO posters were distributed among clinical areas about when to use hand hygiene moments when care involved the use of catheters, CV lines, peripheral lines, endotracheal tubes and wound care; hand hygiene auditing was carried out and hand hygiene informally promoted among staff; and a hand hygiene presentation on hand hygiene was given at the staff forum.

Staff watch a presentation about hand hygiene at a meeting.

Angie Foster, infection prevention and control nurse, presenting at a staff forum on hand hygiene at South Canterbury DHB.

Canterbury DHB achieved a hand hygiene compliance rate of 78 percent in the March 2016 audit, just short of the national target of 80 percent. To help boost the DHB's performance, the Hand Hygiene Governance Group launched ‘It's OK to ask me’ campaign on World Hand Hygiene Day. This is aimed at encouraging patients in Canterbury DHB hospital facilities to ask their carer if their hands are clean. One of the key tools used in the campaign is a series of entertaining videos featuring the Clown Doctors, as well as Canterbury DHB staff and patients. Links to the videos can be found on the Canterbury DHB website.

Canterbury DHB clown doctors overseeing staff washing their hands

Scene from Canterbury DHB's ‘It’s Okay to Ask Me’ campaign video, with a clown doctor overseeing staff cleaning their hands.

Badges and stickers were provided for staff to wear, which encouraged patients to ask about hand hygiene. Other resources included meal tray liners and a patient information pamphlet ‘what you can expect’. Staff were encouraged to promote the message through the CEO update, daily staff communications and at meetings. “It can be difficult for patients to ask their health care worker about hand cleanliness, so we wanted to make it easy for them,” says Carmel Hurley-Watts, Nurse Coordinator, Corporate Quality and Patient Safety.

“This approach was taken to empower and involve patients and their families in their own care with the aim of improving hand hygiene compliance across Canterbury DHB.”

Last updated 19/07/2016