Nursing

CE Article: Talking trash may help improve hand hygiene

Nurse Leader Insider, April 7, 2008

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The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) is stepping up hand hygiene compliance by doing a little trash picking.

Keeping inventory of discarded hand sanitizer and soap bottles might sound unappealing, but Carol Wagner, RN, MBA, vice president of patient safety for the Seattle-based association, says it has made a 35% improvement in the hand hygiene compliance rate of WSHA member hospitals.

The program, launched in 2005, has since attracted several people in hospital settings for its 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week applicability. It allows for consistency, something that is difficult to achieve through direct observation of hand hygiene compliance alone. And it gives the association a mechanism to report numbers back to the participating hospitals, providing data about the hospital as a whole and offering compliance figures for individual units.

How it works

To participate in the program, a hospital must count the amount of soap and hand sanitizers it uses at the facility. Then it must measure the number of discarded bottles against the patient census to give an accurate picture of use. Facilities must track all bottles, from soap housed in wall dispensers to the small bottles of hand sanitizer carried by nurses in their pockets.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the CE Article: Talking trash may help improve hand hygiene featured in the Reading Room on HCPro's new online resource center.

 

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