Researchers Survey Hospital Managers on Strategies to Improve Hand Hygiene

Despite universal recognition of the importance of hand hygiene in reducing the incidence of healthcare associated infections, healthcare workers’ compliance with best practice has been sub-optimal. Senior hospital managers have responsibilities for implementing patient safety initiatives and are therefore ideally placed to provide suggestions for improving strategies to increase hand hygiene compliance. McInnes, et al. (2014) sought to identify senior hospital managers’ views on current and innovative strategies to improve hand hygiene compliance.

Qualitative design comprising face-to-face interviews with 13 sampled senior managers at a major teaching and referral hospital in Sydney, Australia. Data were analyzed thematically.

Seven themes emerged: culture change starts with leaders, refresh and renew the message, connect the five moments to the whole patient journey, actionable audit results, empower patients, reconceptualizing non-compliance and start using the hammer.

The researchers concluded that to strengthen hand hygiene programs, strategies based on the five moments of hand hygiene should be tailored to specific roles and settings and take into account the whole patient journey including patient interactions with clinical and non-clinical staff. Senior clinical and non-clinical leaders should visibly champion and mandate best practice initiatives and articulate that hand hygiene non-compliance is culturally and professionally unacceptable to the organization. Strategies that included a disciplinary component and which conceptualise hand hygiene non-compliance as a patient safety error may be worth evaluating in terms of staff acceptability and effectiveness. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: McInnes E, Phillips R, Middleton S and Gould D. A qualitative study of senior hospital managers’ views on current and innovative strategies to improve hand hygiene. BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:611.