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Good hand hygiene helps improve patient care

24 July 2013

Improving hand hygiene compliance in hospitals will lead to better outcomes for patients, and help to prevent HAIs, says Suzanne De Maine, European marketing manager for GOJO Europe

The NHS is an institution of which many of us are understandably proud but, although it is undeniably much loved, it is also sometimes much maligned too. Scrutiny has increased in many different ways over the years - from assessing A&E waiting times, to issues highlighted by the Francis Report1 - and, not least, the regular headlines detailing virus outbreaks in hospitals.

Nosocomial infections increase healthcare costs and time, so improving hand hygiene compliance is one way to both lower costs and improve patient safety2. The effects of outbreaks are wideranging - from the personal discomfort of those who contract the virus, to the disruption to normal services such as the enforced closure of hospital wards.

Hospitals are well aware of the benefits of promoting good hand hygiene practice to staff and visitors. However, education or awareness-building campaigns can only be truly effective if healthcare establishments are equipped with the most effective, easy-to-use hand hygiene products. By making such products available to use at all the 'critical points', hospitals can demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding the personal health and wellbeing of their patients, staff, and members of the public.

Hands on support for hospitals

GOJO has worked closely with acute healthcare facilities over the years to understand the barriers to hand hygiene compliance and the needs of healthcare workers, and this commitment to improving patient safety and care continues with the launch of its Clean Hands Programme.

The programme is a 'total solution for healthcare' which includes not only training and on-going support, but also access to the most effective products and formulations, research and input from key opinion leaders, and advice on increasing and monitoring compliance. Renowned patient safety and hand hygiene improvement experts Julie Storr - current president of the Infection Prevention Society (IPS), and Claire Kilpatrick - IPS board member and former nurse consultant for Health Protection Scotland, will help to deliver bespoke training for a limited period through 2013 as part of the programme.

GOJO's healthcare support managers - Debbie Higgs and Caterina Galani - will be spearheading the roll-out of the programme by working with NHS Trusts across the country to help them achieve their targets for infection control and hand hygiene compliance.

'My role allows me to work with a whole range of departments, from infection control teams and link nurses, to occupational health and procurement,' explains Higgs. 'My aim is to help hospitals increase hand hygiene compliance through education and training, leading to a reduction in HAI rates. By providing solutions in the shape of formulations that are effective and kind to the skin, backed by dedicated support and training, I feel confident that GOJO and its healthcare clients can continue to improve hand hygiene, creating a more positive experience for patients.' 'Debbie and I help our respective hospitals work through a structured process: identifying areas of need in terms of knowledge or product availability, delivering the training required, and auditing the results, which we present in the form of a detailed report,' says Galani. 'It's a challenging but rewarding role, and I feel like an integral part of the team in every hospital I work with. I am privileged to be working with such dedicated people in order to achieve a highly worthy aim - to improve patient care and safety.' For more information about GOJO's Clean Hands Programme and the work of its healthcare support managers call the number below, email info@gojo.co.uk or visit www.gojo.com/united-kingdom