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Hand hygiene at Canberra Hospital gets a failing grade

By 6 March 2012 11

hand washing

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s MyHospitals website has just rated the nation’s hand hygiene in hospitals.

Sadly Canberra Hospital has managed 64.8%, well below the national benchmark of 70%.

The information presented here refers to the hand hygiene audit period July-October 2011.

The national benchmark for hand hygiene is 70%.

To learn more about hand hygiene ‘moments’ or for information about how rates for hospitals are calculated and compared with the national benchmark, read About the data.

The estimated rate was 64.8% based on 2,450 hand hygiene ‘moments’.
This rate is lower than the national benchmark.

UPDATE 06/03/12 12:32: Chief Minister Gallagher’s got ome hilarious excuses for the bad behaviour:

The results, which refer to the October 2011 audits of hand hygiene processes, show that Canberra Hospital reported a rate of 64.4 percent, slightly below the 70 percent national benchmark. Calvary reported a result of 69.9 percent which is almost at the national benchmark result.

While the result for the Canberra Hospital was below the national benchmark in October 2011, it was at the national benchmark rate in the previous, unpublished audit in July 2011. The drop in the rate was due to a change in way the information was collected, as the top performing wards in July 2011 were not included in the October audit, resulting in a drop in the Canberra Hospital rate.

“It is important to note that our results for hospital acquired infections are considerably better than the benchmark of 2 cases per 10,000 patient days, with Canberra Hospital reporting a rate of 1.06 cases per 10,000 patient days and Calvary with a result of 0.60 cases,” the Chief Minister said.

“Nonetheless, I have asked the Canberra Hospital to ensure that our hand hygiene rate improves over the 2012 year.

“The publication of the results will help this as it provides a clear, and public, demonstration of how hospitals are performing against national targets, and ensures we are able to target our efforts in poorer performing wards.

“Hospitals are also increasing staff education in this area so that staff and patients are aware of the need to wash hands before and after the provision of services and treatments. 64 people have also been trained to undertake hand hygiene auditing across both hospitals, and the results will also be published in our quarterly reports as well as on the MyHospitals website,” the Chief Minister said.

New patient booklets have been produced at Canberra Hospital that provide patients with a range of information including information about their right to ensure that clinicians wash their hands before and after providing treatment. Details about the 10 new national safety and quality standards – which include infection control – are also being widely promoted throughout Canberra hospitals for staff, patients and visitors alike.

“Patients and their families can help by asking doctors and nurses if they have washed their hands. This is a way for our community to help our clinicians to get better at hand hygiene,” the Chief Minister said.

“And all visitors to our hospitals can also help by washing their hands with the antiseptic hand wash that is available at hospital entries and at the entry of all wards of the hospital.

Errmmm. So it’s the patient’s fault?

[Photo by "jar (away for a while)" CC BY 2.0]

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11 Responses to Hand hygiene at Canberra Hospital gets a failing grade
#1
jsm209011:38 am, 06 Mar 12

That’s pretty low. It seems likely there’s a pretty high chance of coming out with something worse than when you were admitted. Reminded me of this article about a technology they were trialling in the US that detects hand hygiene ‘moments’ per day of each memeber of staff. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a little green light on the nurse or doctor that told me if they had washed their hands in the last 30mins or so!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121667890

#2
JazzyJess12:16 pm, 06 Mar 12

Ewww gross. I believe it though. My brother is a doctor and reckons most don’t wash their hands unless they’re covered in blood and viscera.

#3
johnboy1:04 pm, 06 Mar 12

Does it sound to anyone else as if the AIHW rumbled ACT Health efforts to game the system?

#4
steveu1:13 pm, 06 Mar 12

Jsm2090, agree with you totally. I appreciate the staff there are doing the best they can, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate this with results like this, and the govt trying to build the place into something it was never designed to cater for in the first place. It’s scope has increased dramatically since it was first built.

#5
Alderney1:20 pm, 06 Mar 12

I once worked at a pub and stopped eating their food when I became aware the chef didn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet. And no, he didn’t go back to the kitchen and wash them there either.

Some things should just be done by rote.

#6
Disinformation1:33 pm, 06 Mar 12

A crusty old biker, on a summer ride in the country, walks into a tavern and sees a sign hanging over the bar which reads:

CHEESEBURGER: $ 1.50
CHICKEN SANDWICH: $ 2.50
HANDJOB: $ 10.00

Checking his wallet for the necessary payment, he walks up to the bar and beckons to one of the three exceptionally attractive women serving drinks to a meager looking group of farmers.

“Yes?” she inquires with a knowing smile, “can I help you?”

“I was wondering,” whispers the biker, “are you the young lady who gives the hand-jobs?”

“Yes,” she purrs, “I am.”

The old biker replies, “Well wash your hands, I want a cheeseburger”…

#7
Ceej19732:31 pm, 06 Mar 12

Looking at the stats, Canberra looks like we are doing really well Nationally, but not benchmarkly. We look to be equal or better than any other State (pp7).
http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10737420725

#8
poetix2:45 pm, 06 Mar 12

Alderney said :

I once worked at a pub and stopped eating their food when I became aware the chef didn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet. And no, he didn’t go back to the kitchen and wash them there either.

Some things should just be done by rote.

Soap on a rote.

#9
EvanJames3:11 pm, 06 Mar 12

They keep trying to find ways to “make” people in hospitals wash their hands. NSW Health, at one point, had posters up asking nurses to nag doctors and dob them in.

#10
Someonesmother8:27 am, 07 Mar 12

What worries me the most about the non handwashing and spread of infection is that I am allergic to most antibiotics and penecillan……scary thought

#11
kakosi2:25 pm, 11 Mar 12

My mother got contaminated with MRSA and got an infection (it used to be called Golden Staph) last year due to lack of hand washing by doctors and nursing staff at Canberra Hospital.

Their attitude is that all health workers probably have it on their skin so it’s not something they worry much about. If you’re young and healthy you’re less likely to develop infected sores. The fact that it kills sick and older people as it’s resistant to most antibiotics (only two or three hard-core antibiotics still work against it) didn’t seem to bother the infectious diseases staff. Worse still, most staff in the hospital don’t know much about it at all.

I insisted mum get treatment for it, otherwise by now our whole family would have it and be spreading it around town. God only knows how many people have caught it at Canberra, given it to their families, and don’t even know as they don’t have an infection yet.

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