'Wash-Glove-Wash,' Repeat: Campaign Extended to Promote Hand Hygiene
We started last year with the resolution to decrease HAIs, like Clostridium difficile (C. diff), by initiating the “Wash-Glove-Wash” campaign at SMH. Everyone—beyond our obvious bedside nurses and provider teams—took part in our year-long effort by properly cleaning their hands and donning a pair of gloves each time they entered a patient’s room, ensuring patient safety and the prevention of spreading germs.
“All hands were on deck for this effort from the very start,” said campaign sponsor Michael Apostolakos, M.D. But the campaign has included far more than just hand washing. Nurse managers and medical directors have received monthly hand hygiene data to share with their teams and plan accordingly. Also, friendly competition between units have identified “Hand Hygiene Champions” across the hospital, while also encouraging other teams.
Visitors and families have been encouraged to get involved, too. As part of the “I Pledge” campaign, stickers are available on units and in public areas, like lobbies, to help promote clean hands among all guests at the hospital. Clinical staff and faculty also received “I Pledge.” buttons, rekindling our focus on the importance of hand hygiene.
The result? As of early this year, hand hygiene rates have increased to over 80 percent—the highest they've been in years—prompting SMH leadership to extend the initiative for another six months, until the end of the academic year.
“On behalf of the whole team behind these efforts, I truly appreciate everyone’s support of the campaign so far,” Mike said. “We still have more work to do, but we’ve made tremendous progress already.”
Part of that progress includes an evident culture change. While C.diff only decreased by 2 percent, an online survey given to physicians, nurses and staff revealed a perception that hand hygiene rates have increased. For example, 73 percent of respondents agreed that their hand hygiene practices improved since the start of the initiative. Moreover, nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that hand hygiene improved in their respective areas. “These results prove that we’re doing more than just decreasing numbers—we’re changing and improving the culture here,” said Mike.
So, What’s Next?
We need your help. To reach our goal of increasing hand hygiene rates to 85 percent, we need everyone’s continued commitment to clean hands throughout the hospital.
While the “Wash-Glove-Wash” executive team continues to review hand hygiene data and follow HAI rates, it asks for participation from everyone to keep the momentum going. “We can make even more progress this year if we all keep hand hygiene top of mind,” Mike said.
“We have the opportunity to truly make a difference here. Results prove that we’re already off to an amazing start.”