Hand hygiene

Pilot project aims to reduce hospital infections

Pilot project aims to reduce hospital infections

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, Fall 2009

A hand hygiene awareness pilot program has been launched within the Winnipeg Health Region as part of its effort to improve patient safety in hospitals and nursing homes.

The three-month project is intended to raise awareness about the important role hand hygiene can play in reducing health-care associated infections, says Ryan Sidorchuk, Leader, Patient Voice Facilitation, Patient Safety with the Winnipeg Health Region.

Health-care associated infections are the most common serious complication of hospitalization," says Sidorchuk. One in nine patients admitted to Canadian hospitals acquire an infection as a consequence of their hospital stay. By raising awareness about the problem, the Region hopes more health-care workers and hospital and nursing home visitors will take steps to wash their hands.

"Everyone can make a contribution to improving patient safety by practising hand hygiene, says Sidorchuk. "It's an easy and effective way to help stop the spread of illness."

The program is another step in the Region's Hand Hygiene Strategy and Promotion, which was implemented in 2005 to reinforce the importance of hand hygiene for health-care workers as well as patients, residents, clients and visitors in all settings.

Sites and units where this program will take place include Victoria General Hospital, Health Sciences Centre, Deer Lodge Centre, Holy Family Nursing Home, Extendicare Oakview Place, ACCESS Transcona and three Community Health Agencies; Klinic Community Health Centre, Mount Carmel Clinic and Nor'west Co-op Community Health Centre.

Various educational tools have been developed to reinforce the need for practising proper hand hygiene and will be available at various locations. Throughout the project, there will be evaluations and audits of health-care worker hand hygiene practices. Information gathered from the project will help inform and refine a region-wide awareness campaign.

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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