Bacterial swabs and shining a light on bugs will form part of a fun day tackling the serious message of hand hygiene at Care UK’s Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre on Tuesday May 6.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual ‘My Five Moments for Hand Hygiene’ is a global initiative to encourage people to wash their hands and promotes the benefits of simple hand hygiene. Exceptional hygiene is one of the reasons for the treatment centre’s excellent record of infection control and in its nine-year history there has never been a case of hospital-acquired MRSA.
Regular hand hygiene workshops are held using ‘glow and tell’ substances; this helps to train staff and to highlight the culture and importance of hand hygiene. Visitors and staff are encouraged to take part in the workshops which help them to identify bacteria hot spots on their hands.
GP liaison manager Julia Dolan said: “By covering a person’s hands in a fluorescent lotion or powder and then shining a UV light on them, we can see the areas that are commonly missed during routine hand washing.
“People are always amazed at what the light shows as they assume their hands are clean. We use it as a training tool to highlight the importance and effectiveness of using the correct hand washing technique and it is a very valuable session for patients to take back to their own homes.”
Besides these workshops, other hand hygiene audits are carried out every month at the centre, using the WHO’s hand hygiene observation tool.
The team will also be checking patients’ and visitors’ hands in the outpatients departments and on the ward for bacteria levels using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) swabbing. People are swabbed to show the bacteria levels on their hands. If anyone is found to have a high level of bacteria on their hands they are asked to wash their hands and be re-tested.
There will also be lots of information on hand hygiene and free gifts for staff, patients and visitors, including hand sanitizers, water bottles, trolley key rings and sweets to give away after having their hands checked.
Hospital director Martin Page said: “Poor hygiene can have a devastating effect on the recovery of a patient, which is why we have a zero tolerance approach. Every patient is tested for MRSA at pre-assessment to reduce the risk of infection. Our robust infection prevention and control measures ensure our patients are protected from hospital-acquired infections.
“We carry out regular spot checks and audits on all clinical staff using the ‘glow and tell’ gel to ensure staff are using the correct hand washing techniques and to minimise infections in the wound.
“I would encourage anyone who is visiting us on the day, or who would like to pop in for some information, to join in the activities, as hygiene in the home can stop the spread of potential harmful bacteria.”