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DHB Staff Given Extra “Helping Hand” to Keep Patients Safe

2 May 2014

DHB Staff Given an Extra “Helping Hand” to Keep Patients Safe

All 4,500 staff across Southern DHB will be given a helping hand to keep patients even safer this week, with efforts and activities underway to help them implement the five steps of hand hygiene as part of a World Health Organisation (WHO) global hand hygiene campaign, kicking off May 5.

Special displays reminding staff that it “takes just five moments to change the world” will be put up around the DHB, and Infection Prevention and Control staff will be on hand to inform staff and patients about the importance of hand hygiene, which is vital to supporting good health, reducing the spread of infection and ultimately saving lives.

The campaign will also be informing staff about the increasing threat of resistance to antimicrobial agents, which is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide, as Richard Bunton, Medical Director of Patient Services explains.

“Many resistant organisms are spread in hospitals on the hands of healthcare workers and at the same time that resistance levels are increasing globally. As healthcare associated infections become more and more difficult to treat, the stakes of infections occurring become higher and higher,” he said.

“That’s why it’s so important that the DHB is keeping a strong focus on reminding its staff to always implement the five moments of hand hygiene, every day, every single time they come into contact with a patient and their surrounds.”

This month’s focus is the latest in a series of initiatives that the DHB has been delivering to help improve the hand hygiene performance across its hospital sites. Since June 2009 staff at the DHB have been working to help improve hand hygiene compliance, resulting in the recent achievement of the national target (70%), with the DHB reaching 71.6% compliance at the end of March 2014. The DHB-wide goal is now to maintain this result and to build on it moving ahead, to keep improving the compliance rate in the future.

The last few months have also seen more and more staff put their ‘hands up’ to champion the importance of hand hygiene across the DHB. One such champion is Registered Nurse Elly Campbell, who has been described as “particularly passionate about hand hygiene, creating opportunities to educate her colleagues about good hand hygiene practice and support them in practicing the five steps of hand hygiene wherever possible.”

Her efforts include instigating additional gel pump bottles at each bed space in the intensive care unit to improve staff compliance with hand hygiene, and teaching others and supporting colleagues to achieve better practice.

“As a long term nurse in the ICU, she demonstrates a great passion, resilience, motivation and confidence that is well appreciated and recognised across all staff,” says colleague Jessica Sanford, Registered Nurse at Southern DHB.

Five important reasons to practice the 5 moments of hand hygiene and help reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR):
• AMR prolongs illness and increases risk of death
• AMR hampers the control of infectious diseases
• AMR threatens a return to pre-antibiotic era
• AMR increases the cost of health care
• AMR jeopardises the health gains made to society.

For more information about the World Health Organisation Global Hand Hygiene campaign see

And to view our SDHB hand hygiene gangnam style video click here


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