Hand Hygiene Champions Make a Splash at Community Hospital Long Beach

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Health & Wellness

Handwashing with soap and water has been considered a measure of personal hygiene for centuries. In a hospital environment, handwashing is crucial to preventing the spread of disease and infection. The Hand Hygiene Champion Program at Community Hospital Long Beach (CHLB) encourages all employees and visitors to follow hand washing protocols.

The Infection Control Department teamed up with managers and leaders from other departments throughout CHLB to educate employees about hand hygiene and launch the Hand Hygiene Champion Program in June 2015. The leaders, or champions, of the program volunteer to provide hand hygiene coaching and training to their departments.

“The Hand Hygiene Champion Program improves the patient experience by preventing the spread of infection,” says Mary Beth Joiner, MSN, RN, director, perioperative services, Hand Hygiene Committee member, Community Hospital Long Beach. “We want to make sure that all of our employees and visitors have proper hand hygiene education.”

The CHLB Hand Hygiene Champions perform five hand hygiene audits per week during their routine rounds with no prior announcement. This secret shopper approach allows champions to monitor the hand hygiene practices within their unit. They then compile the data to present to the Hand Hygiene Committee. Based on December 2015 results, CHLB employees have a 97% compliance rate of hand hygiene protocols.

CHLB has recently introduced the “threshold rule” in which all patient care providers must perform hand hygiene, either with Purell® or soap and water when entering and exiting a patient room. When both feet pass the threshold of a patient room, the rule is applied. The threshold serves as a visual cue to wash hands, ensuring that patient care providers will minimize the spread of infection as they are visiting all of their patients.

The next step for the Hand Hygiene Champion Program is to launch their “Make a Splash” campaign. Make a Splash is a call-to-action created to remind employees to wash their hands thoroughly, throughout the day. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

“If someone sees that their colleague did not wash their hands, we want them to approach that person and say ‘make a splash’ and then they will know what to do,” says Joiner. “Everyone is welcome to participate! This campaign will help us hit our goal of 100% hand hygiene compliance.”