WDHB takes home top hand hygiene award

18 June 2014

WDHB surgeon Semisi Aiono washes his hands before surgery
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) has scooped the Hand Hygiene Quality Improvement Award 2014 for a DHB with fewer than 300 acute inpatient beds, or fewer than 1750 hand hygiene moments for national hand hygiene auditing.
When congratulating WDHB hand hygiene coordinator Ruth Foulkes and her team this week, WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake said they had all worked extremely hard to improve hand hygiene performance in Wanganui Hospital and in health facilities throughout the WDHB district. 
Meanwhile, Mrs Foulkes says she was delighted with the win because “the Hand Hygiene Quality Improvement Awards recognise successful hand hygiene improvement efforts to date, plus a DHB’s quality improvement planning efforts for the next 12 months”.
With the exception of one DHB which is lead agency of the Hand Hygiene New Zealand (HHNZ) programme, 19 of the country’s 20 DHBs were entered into the awards which consisted of one for DHBs with more than 300 acute inpatient beds (for national auditing) and one for DHBs with fewer than 300 beds.
Mrs Foulkes says each DHB was assessed according to a defined set of criteria which included a review of historical performance, a review of data already held by HHNZ and an assessment for alignment against the HHNZ Implementation Guidelines.
“I’m pleased to report that Hand Hygiene New Zealand was particularly impressed with Whanganui’s strong plan for improving and sustaining hand hygiene performance into the future.”
Mrs Foulkes says the judges noted:
  • that the WDHB has a dedicated hand hygiene coordinator with dedicated time allocated to the role
  • the WDHB’s senior management strongly support the organisation’s hand hygiene programme
  • the WDHB has made consistent hand hygiene improvement over the past three years
  • Whanganui is proactive about hand hygiene to the point it is becoming part of everyday culture
  • the WDHB continues to look for new ways to spread awareness and remind healthcare workers to perform hand hygiene.
Mrs Foulkes says HHNZ has extended warm congratulations to herself and WDHB staff for their outstanding efforts. “HHNZ said not only have we made consistent improvements but hand hygiene is clearly a priority for our DHB.”