6 simple ways to boost your hospital’s hand-washing compliance
Thursday, June 06, 2019
Your hospital staff knows that hand-washing is essential for reducing infection rates, but sometimes they may cut corners when it comes to compliance. Stress, fatigue, and high workloads can lead to your doctors, nurses and workers skipping proper and continual hygiene steps.
Also, patients very rarely wash their hands when they're in bed — and their visitors almost never make it a practice to so, either. Yet, boosting compliance rates can be much easier than you think.
Here are six surprising (and easy) ways to identify hygiene risk situations and quickly fix them to protect everyone in your care environment.
Provide antibacterial gel at your patients' bedsides.
A study from Michigan Medicine found that out of 399 inpatient subjects, 14% had superbugs on their hands during a hospital stay.
You already give each patient a comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, and shampoo when they are admitted, so add a personal-sized bottle of antibacterial gel to that care kit and instruct your nurses to check to make sure your patients use it throughout the day.
Monitor hand hygiene most rigorously toward the end of shifts.
Research from the America Psychological Association found that this is the time healthcare workers skimp most on hand-washing, very likely because they are tired. Make sure your supervisors keep an eye on fatigued staff at this time, and remind them to keep cleaning.
Utilize the "gross-out" factor.
Research from Henry Ford Health System shows that showing images of live bacteria on a mouse pad or workstation can have a powerful effect on motivating hospital workers to wash their hands regularly.
Include these kind of "gross-out" photos in ongoing online training courses, in mandatory staff meetings and in presentations to drive the point home.
Educate visitors through videos.
Playing a simple video that shows the right way to wash your hands in areas hospital visitors frequent can inform they them need to do so — and they will. Keep this video on screens in your lobby, waiting rooms, and hallways and post reminder signs outside of patient rooms.
Ask your workers if their hands are clean.
Friendly inquiries throughout the day to workers will spread the word that hospital administration is serious about hand hygiene — and your workers will be serious about paying attention.
Set a good example.
Make a very obvious visual point of the importance of hand-washing by using the antibacterial soap dispensers in your hallways each time you pass one and every time you enter a patients' room.
This cements the fact that you, as well as your institution, take cleanliness seriously. Your patients will notice and appreciate it greatly.
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