Promoting Hand Hygiene by Engaging Patients. Sushrat supports the “It’s Ok to Ask” Initiative

Home / Improve Hospitals / Promoting Hand Hygiene by Engaging Patients. Sushrat supports the “It’s Ok to Ask” Initiative

In the most resourceful and perfect hospitals around the world, hand hygiene compliance levels are as low and hospital administrators have been unable to improve hand hygiene levels.

Since hand hygiene is the cornerstone of patient safety and globally doctors and caregivers have ben unable to increase compliance, we started thinking – what if patients ask staff to clean their hands before touching them. After all, it’s patient who gets the complications and infections because of poor staff hand hygiene.

What if, we could just give a Rs. 20 bottle of hand rub to every patient, and the patient just shows it to doctors and nurses. Would that increase compliance?
Well, scientific studies in the UK and the USA prove that this works. HAI or hospital acquired infection rates fall dramatically when patients ask doctors to politely clean their hands.
The only problem patients have is, that patients sometime find it awkward to tell staff what to do and staff may get offended if a patient is telling her what to do. These can easily be managed using good communication and training.

The campaign to do this across the world is called, “It’s OK to ask”.
First tell the entire organization that patients can and will ask you to clean your hands and that it is OK.
Provide patients with small bottles of hand rub to offer to staff and while giving it, tell them to ask everyone – relative, doctor, nurse, seniors to use hand rub before touching the patient.

Other thoughts on Hand Hygiene
1. A study in the American Journal of Infection Control found a change as simple as installing bright red hand sanitizer dispensers can increase hand hygiene compliance in hospitals. In fact, healthcare worker-adjusted compliance increased by 6 percent once the red dispensers were installed at the hospital in Germany where the study took place. They also tried flashing red lights.
2. A study in the American Journal of Infection Control revealed that healthcare workers touch their faces multiple times each hour, a habit that could spread germs if hand hygiene compliance is not met. By raising awareness of this habit and its effects, hospitals may be able to improve hand hygiene compliance.
3.Researchers found that a lack of standardization in how hand hygiene-related solutions are arranged at hospital emergency department washbasins may have an effect on performance, in a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. By standardizing the relative location of handwash solutions, such as soap on one side and hand drying agents on the other, hospitals may be able to improve hand hygiene behaviors.

Our project involves:
1. Designing stickers for the hand rub bottle.
2. Designing the communication from nurse/doctor to patient at time of admission
3. Designing training for full hospital staff at start of campaign.
4. Designing posters to remind staff of hand hygiene & it’s ok to ask. – Multilingual
5. Way to measure the success of the campaign at a hospital level.
6. Provide hand rub and hand wash at all other non-patient locations – OT, Ward, Toilets, Doctor Desk, etc.
7. Choosing the right size bottle of hand rub to give to patients.
8. Should half-used hand rub bottle be given to the next patient?

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