Recognizing the importance of patient hand hygiene, a project was set up at St. Paul’s hospital to offer hand wipes to patients before meals.
Our provincial hand hygiene working group chose as our theme raising awareness of the importance of hand hygiene. Volunteers from our Patient Voices Network (PVN) were recruited who were passionate about the importance of hand hygiene for patients in care.
The volunteers and staff explored the best way to raise this awareness. It was decided focus groups would be used to provide a forum to share stories about patient hand cleaning in health care facilities. These stories could be shared with staff during hand hygiene education sessions to emphasize the importance of enabling patients to clean their hands. Five volunteers participated in the two hour focus group sharing stories from all areas of health care and different perspectives on how difficult it was for them to clean their hands.
The stories were shared with staff during Hand Hygiene Week and with our provincial colleagues. Staff stated that this was not something they thought about in their daily work and appreciated the reminder. Other Health Authorities used our experience to focus on this aspect of patient/resident care.
The fourteen stories gathered from these volunteers and shared with staff throughout the province raised the awareness of the importance of patient/resident hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infection.