WDHB earns high hand hygiene score
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7 May 2013

A rigorous hand hygiene audit of the country’s 20 district health boards (DHBs) has seen Whanganui DHB score the second highest result for the four months ending 31 March.
 
It’s a noticeable improvement on the previous four months when the WDHB placed fifth.
 
WDHB infection prevention and control nurse coordinator Ruth Foulkes says she’s delighted with the result which reflects the hard work that staff have put into raising the level of hand hygiene throughout Wanganui Hospital.
 
“It’s timely that we achieved second place given the story in this week’s Chronicle about surgeons, doctors and hospital chefs being some of the worst at washing their hands,” Mrs Foulkes says.
 
“Hand Hygiene New Zealand expects a 70 percent compliance rate but the latest results show the WDHB to have reached 74 percent which we intend to keep improving on.
 
“This efforts involves staff right across the spectrum – doctors, nurses, surgeons, Allied Health, health care assistants, and clerical, domestic and laboratory staff.”
 
Mrs Foulkes says five auditors regularly observe Wanganui Hospital staff who know there are five key moments when they need to reduce transmission of infection while working in clinical areas.
 
Developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce health care associated infection, the “My 5 moments for hand hygiene” strategy is now embedded in all New Zealand hospitals.
 
Wanganui Hospital visitors and patients are exposed to a range of messages encouraging good hand hygiene practice from them as well as staff. A large free-standing hand hygiene station with gel greets everyone entering the Main Entrance. And hand gel stations are positioned at the entrance to all clinical areas.
 
Mrs Foulkes applauds visitors for their willingness to “come on board” with the hospital’s efforts to maintain low infection rates. She says it’s very pleasing to see people of all ages reach for the gel on entering and exiting the hospital and wards.