Hygiene in safe hands: Orange hospital better than state average in the wash up

ABOVE THE BENCHMARK: Accident and emergency department nursing unit manager Meg O’Brien says the department has recorded a marked improvement in a campaign to make staff wash their hands before treating patients. Photo: JUDE KEOGH     0715handwash1

ABOVE THE BENCHMARK: Accident and emergency department nursing unit manager Meg O’Brien says the department has recorded a marked improvement in a campaign to make staff wash their hands before treating patients. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0715handwash1

STAFF treating patients in the accident and emergency department of Orange hospital  have improved their hand hygiene in the last few months to surge ahead of the state’s benchmarks.

The latest figures show a marked improvement on the previous month when in one category half the medical practitioners did not wash their hands before treating patients, falling almost 20 points below the state hand hygiene benchmark.

From a low of 52.60 per cent of staff washing their hands in early 2012, the department now boasts 77.10 per cent of staff following the correct procedures, more than seven points above the state average of 70 per cent.

The biggest improvement was in the category of washing hands before a procedure, which jumped from a four-year low of 26 per cent in 2012 to 73.90 per cent in 2014.

Accident and emergency department nursing unit manager Meg O’Brien said hospital staff were constantly working to improve hand hygiene.

“Our policy is that staff are to be bare to the elbow, apart from a cultural or wedding ring, and watches are to be removed prior to handwashing,” she said.

In the latest survey, personal care staff, invasive technicians, domestic staff, student nurses, student midwives and student allied health staff all scored 100 per cent.

They were followed by nurses and midwives who followed correct hand hygiene procedure 90 per cent of the time.

However, medical practitioners working in the accident and emergency department only scored 70.5 per cent, just passing the state benchmark.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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