Long-Term Care Units in Cape Breton County Taking Part in Hand Hygiene Challenge

Long-term care units at hospitals in Glace Bay, North Sydney and New Waterford celebrated Stop Clean Your Hands Day in a unique way.

Stop Clean Your Hands Day or National Hand Hygiene Day takes place on May 5. To celebrate, 4North at Glace Bay Hospital has challenged Taigh Solas at Northside General Hospital and Waterford Heights at New Waterford Consolidated Hospital to a month-long hand hygiene challenge.

“Our goal with the challenge is to not only improve hand hygiene, but to get the staff and residents engaged,” says Tracey Coombes, head nurse on 4North. “We hope that by making it interactive, fun and informative, there will be an increase in hand hygiene.”

The challenge includes several activities. Staff on each unit will complete education on hand hygiene and then be a part of hand hygiene audits. During the audits, unit managers will take a Hand Hygiene Crash Cart around the units. On the cart will be questions for staff. If the staff member answers correctly they will receive a prize that promotes hand hygiene like alcohol gel, nail files etc.

Staff will also play “Hit the Deck” during huddles, break time or change of shift. To play “Hit the Deck” staff are divided into two teams. Each team picks a card and is given a task to do that’s related to infection prevention and control. This might include proper gowning and gloving, washing hands etc. If the team gets it right, they get the point value of the card. The team with the most points after seven questions or tasks is the winner.

Staff aren’t the only ones getting involved in the challenge. Some residents will be given "hand clappers" so they can "cheer" on staff when they see them, or another resident wash their hands.

“The challenge is a great way to highlight the importance of good hand hygiene and get people involved,” says Coombes. “Good hand hygiene is everyone’s responsibility. We work really hard to engage our staff, volunteers, our residents and their families in what we’re doing and to keep them engaged. Our goal is to foster a hand hygiene environment. We’ve really made good hand hygiene part of our daily routine.”

Stop Clean Your Hands Day or National Hand Hygiene Day is May 5. The hand hygiene challenge runs until the end of May.

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