Hand Hygiene Adherence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Safety Is Universal

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Hebah al Zamel, MSN, CIC, CPHQ, an infection preventionist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a member of ICT's Editorial Advisory Board, describes how hand hygiene is handled in Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qasim.

Male doctor washes his hands before a surgery operation before entering an operating room  (Adobe Stock 394959548 by Roman)

Male doctor washes his hands before a surgery operation before entering an operating room.

(Adobe Stock 394959548 by Roman)

Prince Sultan Cardiac Center (PSCC) in Qasim is a renowned health care facility specializing in cardiology and cardiac surgery. As with any leading health care institution, ensuring high hygiene standards is crucial, particularly in preventing health care-acquired infections. Hand hygiene is one of the most fundamental and effective measures to control infections. Here’s how PSCC Qasim handles hand hygiene within its facility:

Comprehensive Hand Hygiene Policy

PSCC Qasim has a comprehensive hand hygiene policy that aligns with international standards and guidelines, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC. The policy outlines when, how, and why hand hygiene should be performed. This includes guidelines on handwashing with soap and water and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Education and Training

A cornerstone of PSCC’s hand hygiene approach is its staff's education and continuous training. All health care workers, including doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff, undergo rigorous training on the importance of hand hygiene, the correct techniques, and the critical moments for hand hygiene in patient care. Training sessions are conducted regularly to keep the staff updated on best practices and new developments in infection control.

Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qasim, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  (Photo courtesy of PSCC)

Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qasim, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

(Photo courtesy of PSCC)

Hand Hygiene Adherence Monitoring

PSCC Qasim employs a robust system to monitor hand hygiene adherence among its staff. This includes direct observation by trained infection control personnel, as well as the use of electronic monitoring systems that can track hand hygiene events in real time. Feedback from these monitoring activities is provided to the staff to encourage adherence to hand hygiene protocols and identify areas for improvement.

Hand Hygiene Products and Accessibility

Ensuring that hand hygiene products are readily accessible is another key aspect of PSCC Qasim’s strategy. The facility is equipped with numerous handwashing stations and dispensers for alcohol-based hand sanitizers strategically placed throughout the hospital, including patient rooms, operating theaters, and high-traffic areas. These dispensers are regularly stocked and maintained to ensure they are always operational.

Patient and Visitor Engagement

PSCC Qasim also emphasizes the role of patients and visitors in maintaining hand hygiene. Educational materials, such as brochures and posters, are distributed and displayed throughout the facility to inform patients and visitors about the importance of hand hygiene and encourage them to practice it. Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed at entrances and other key locations to make it easy for visitors to clean their hands upon entering and leaving the hospital.

Infection Control Team

The facility has a dedicated infection control team that oversees and implements hand hygiene protocols. This team conducts regular audits, provides training, and stays updated with the latest guidelines and research. They play a crucial role in maintaining a culture of safety and hygiene within the hospital.

Hand Hygiene Campaigns

PSCC Qasim frequently conducts hand hygiene campaigns to reinforce the importance of this practice among healthcare workers, patients, and visitors. These campaigns may include activities like hand hygiene fairs, competitions, and demonstrations to actively engage staff and the community.

Technological Innovations

In keeping with modern advancements, PSCC Qasim leverages technology to enhance its hand hygiene practices. This includes using automated hand hygiene monitoring systems that provide real-time data and feedback and UV light systems to check the effectiveness of handwashing techniques during training sessions.

Research and Continuous Improvement

The center is committed to continuously improving hand hygiene practices through research and quality improvement initiatives. Regular studies are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of hand hygiene interventions, and the findings are used to refine and enhance the existing protocols. This commitment to research ensures that PSCC Qasim remains at the forefront of infection control practices.

Summary

Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qasim handles hand hygiene with a multifaceted approach that includes comprehensive policies, continuous education and training, monitoring and feedback systems, accessibility of hygiene products, patient and visitor engagement, a dedicated infection control team, regular campaigns, technological innovations, and a commitment to research and continuous improvement. These efforts collectively ensure a high standard of hand hygiene, crucial for preventing infections and ensuring patient safety in a cardiac care setting.

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