Hand Hygiene at ADHB

Hand Hygiene at Auckland District Health Board - Clean Hands Save Lives!




A while ago you, our consumer panel, told us how you felt about hand hygiene and whether you should ask healthcare workers to clean their hands.  Here is what you told us:


Hand Hygiene is Important to You


Overall most of you feel very strongly that hand hygiene is important.  You like to see staff washing their hands or using the hand sanitiser at the bedside before and after care is delivered.  Everyone had very good insights and knowledge of how good hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of disease, germs and infections between patients.


This is how one of you put it:


"Because, like all of us, we do not know what or where was the last place that [they] had been to or who they had had contact with prior to me visiting them or them visitiing me.  My expectation is that before they touch me they are clean, because I would expect me to have clean hands when touching a patient or a new born baby"


Asking staff to clean their hands


Although almost all of you felt that hand hygiene was very important, you also believe that it is not your job to ask healthcare workers to clean their hands - this should be basic knowledge and every clinical healthcare worker should practice hand hygiene at the right time as a matter of course.  You said it should not be made the role of patients or visitors to "ask them to clean their hands".


"I feel it is wrong to put the onus on the patient.  Staff should be washig/sanitising hands conspicuously in front of patients to make them at ease."


Many of you felt you would like to have more information about hand hygiene and how germs are spread and more ready access to hand hygiene product for yourselves.   You also wanted some ideas about how you could prompt healthcare workers to clean their hands.


When asked what were your ideas to improve hand hygiene practice amongst staff or help for patients to prompt healthcare workers to clean their hands this is what you said:


- more patient and visitor information about hand hygiene


- information about when it is the right time to expect healthcare workers to clean their hands


- staff should routinely expect to clean their hands in front of patients, even if they have cleaned them out of view


- staff actively discussing hand hygiene with patients, saying "it is ok to check with me if I have cleaned my hands"


- more signs about exactly when hands should be sanitised for healthcare workers, patients and visitors, and


- more hand hygiene products easily accessible to everyone


So what's happening as a result of your feedback? Lots!


This feedback has helped us plan some big changes in relation to improving hand hygiene at Auckland District Health Board.


For the public and visitors we are planning a wider spread of hand santising products and lots of prominent signs right where it is needed:  before and after visiting a healthcare facility within Auckland District Health Board.  This means that hand sanitising will be at the entrance to areas where clinical care happens; eg outside wards, clinics, x-ray entrances, etc.


We are developing a brochure for patients about hand hygiene: where and when to expect it, why it is important and what they can do when they feel it is not being done to their expectations.


We will be running more hand hygiene campaigns to improve and sustain healthcare workers' adoption of and visible hand hygiene practice.


The ADHB will publically reporting hand hygiene compliance rates by healthcare workers and you, the public, will be able to see that we treat hand hygiene as very important.


We have improved and will continually educate healthcare workers about the importance of hand hygiene at the bedside before and after touching patients.   Senior staff are taking responsibility to maintain excellence in hand hygiene practice.


Your feedback has made a huge difference to how we, at the ADHB, campaign for hand hygiene and safer patient care.  You are influencing your own and others' healthcare outcome by your participation in these surveys.  Thank you very much for making a difference!


Louise Dawson

Hand Hygiene Programme Manager

Infection Prevention and Control

Quality Department


Go to the Hand Hygiene NZ website for further information about what is happening throughout New Zealand hospitals.