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2/9/2009
CHEO Doubles Hand Hygiene Compliance

OTTAWA – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) today announced a giant step forward in its infection prevention and control program, more than doubling its hand hygiene compliance rates.

After implementation of a comprehensive hand hygiene program over the summer, audits conducted in July and August reveal that 83% of the time, hand cleaning took place at CHEO at the right time and in the right way. This is a significant improvement over the 35% that CHEO reported in its baseline audit conducted in April, prior to program implementation, and surpasses the 62.2% provincial average at that time.

“This success is the result of strong commitment by our staff and physicians,” said Michel Bilodeau, president and chief executive officer. “We were not happy with our previous results and we knew we could do better. We made hand cleaning a priority. We worked very hard. And the work has paid off. I’m very proud of the CHEO team.

“In a hospital, a staff member may clean their hands more than 200 times in a day,” said Judy Dennis, manager, Infection Prevention and Control. “You must clean your hands every time you go from one patient to the next, any time you touch something in the patient’s environment and then move to another area, every time you answer the phone and then go to see a patient. These are just a few examples when your hands aren’t visibly soiled, but may be contaminated. In emergency situations and a fast paced environment this can be challenging -— but we now have the supplies that we need, the enhanced awareness, and our staff is doing a great job.”

Since its initial hand hygiene audit, CHEO has increased the supply of hand hygiene products at the point of care and launched a series of new activities and communications, including a “train the trainer” program, staff training sessions and an “It is OK to ask me if I’ve cleaned my hands” poster campaign featuring members of CHEO front line staff.

“These are some great results, but we know we can do even better. And we need to ensure this is a permanent change to our hand cleaning habits,” said Bilodeau. “But we can and we will keep up this good progress. Staff and physicians make every effort to ensure our patients receive the best and safest possible care.”

CHEO Media Relations: 613-737-2343
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