Survey results provide insight into hand hygiene practices

Hand Hygiene Survey

Handwashing, with either soap and water or hand sanitizer, is an important line of defense when it comes to preventing the spread of infection. At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, the Hand Hygiene Committee supports Partners HealthCare’s guidelines for proper hand hygiene, encouraging staff to wash or gel before and after every patient interaction. To test how committed BWFH staff are to that directive, the committee asks leaders and staff in all areas of the hospital to audit policy compliance using an easy-to-use app and encourages staff at all levels to give feedback on hand hygiene practice.

The app, called SpeedyAudit, was implemented in October of 2018. At the time, BWFH’s hand hygiene compliance rate was just 78 percent. In 2019 (from January to November), we met our target compliance rate of 90 percent in 10 out of the 11 months!

However, the Hand Hygiene Committee has found that staff still do not often give feedback on hand hygiene compliance. In a recent survey, the committee asked respondents to identify barriers to giving this kind of feedback on hand hygiene. “We received 696 survey responses, which is wonderful,” says
Hand Hygiene Committee Co-Chair and Quality Improvement Analyst Kathy Newcomb, RHIT. “We found that the top barrier that prevents employees from giving hand hygiene feedback is that staff still feel uncomfortable. We also heard that many times staff are too busy or simply forget.”

The survey also explored ways in which to encourage staff to give feedback on hand hygiene. “Based on the survey results, we think we can encourage staff to feel more comfortable giving feedback on hand hygiene through education, training and/or workshops,” says Newcomb. “We also think that providing pre-printed feedback cards might be helpful.”

With the data gathered from the survey, the Hand Hygiene Committee is preparing for the year ahead, with the goal of helping staff feel more comfortable giving hand hygiene feedback.

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