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One in every 31 hospital patients contracts a health care-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a High Reliability Organization (HRO), community safety is at the forefront of Inspira’s patient care model. This World Hand Hygiene Day, May 5, Inspira participated in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands” campaign.
“This year’s theme was achieving proper hand hygiene at the point of care—any setting combining a patient, a health care worker and treatment requiring physical contact,” said Amy Mansue, president and CEO of Inspira Health. “At Inspira, our goal is to have zero health care-associated infections (HAIs). That means we prioritize practicing effective hand washing and share how this practice is integral to keeping our community safe.”
The most common health care-associated infections are central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and infections at a surgical site.
“Whether you rub your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water, maintaining proper hand hygiene is part of the job,” said Amy. According to the CDC, some health care providers should be cleaning their hands 100 times per 12-hour shift.
The WHO identifies the following points of care as an opportunity for hand hygiene:
- Before touching a patient
- Before clean/aseptic procedures
- After body fluid exposure/risk
- After touching a patient
- After touching a patient’s surroundings
Spread the Message, Not the Germs
Inspira leads by example. To help providers and staff, Inspira distributed a series of HRO tools and techniques designed to promote hand hygiene among colleagues and patients.
“When I need to hold myself accountable, I use the STAR model: stop, think, act and review. When eating lunch or interacting with a patient, if you’re not sure if you need to wash your hands, engage this approach,” said Amy. “On the other hand—pun intended—if a colleague forgets to wash their hands, don’t hesitate to ARCC: ask a question, request a change, voice a concern and escalate the situation through the chain of command.” Practicing good hand hygiene requires self-accountability and courage to peer check others.
Inspira Medical Centers Elmer and Vineland were recognized by the Leapfrog Group and received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade in Spring 2021. Leapfrog surveys now include a hand hygiene evaluation.
“Each of us has a role to play in ensuring the safety of our patients and each other,” said Amy.
The Leapfrog Hospital Survey evaluates hand hygiene in a health care environment based on the following categories:
- Monitoring: including assessing compliance with hand hygiene technique
- Feedback: including evaluations and use of compliance data
- Training and Education: including demonstrations of technique
- Infrastructure: including hand sanitizer dispensers
- Culture: including leadership buy-in
For more information about World Hand Hygiene Day 2021, go to www.who.int/campaigns.