Trust joins in global handwashing day

Global Handwashing Day Logo, Landor AssociatesTrust has had no MRSA cases in four months

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has organised the first ever global handwashing day on 15 October. This Trust is taking part by launching an awareness campaign in each hospital. At NDDH visitors will be able to learn how to wash their hands and understand the importance of hand hygiene in preventing infections.

The event comes at a time when the Trust has successfully achieved four months in a row without an MRSA bloodstream infection. This is excellent achievement helps make the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust one of the cleanest hospitals in the South West.

  • The Trust has achieved this goal by taking several measures.
  • Signs are up in every hospital entrance to remind visitors when to and where they can wash their hands.
  • When staff are dealing with patients who do not have diarrhoea they can use the bedside-placed alcohol gel, instead of soap and water, for convenient and quick hand decontamination.
  • The cleanyourhands campaign posters are clearly displayed in all ward areas.
  • Each ward displays information of each ward’s performance in handwashing and Trust performance on MRSA, Clostridium difficile rates. Cleanliness scores and cleaning routines are also posted on ward notice boards.
  • Handwashing audits are completed twice a month across the Trust.
  • There is a dress code and uniform policy for all staff, which informs staff working in clinical areas of the need to be ‘bare below the elbows’ for effective handwashing.
  • A newsletter is distributed to all staff electronically every month to update them on best practice in the prevention of infection.

From New York to China and Brazil, the WHO is organising events to promote handwashing. According to WHO, diarrhoea kills almost 2 million children every year, making it the second leading killer of children worldwide. A simple hygiene habit – washing hands with soap – could halve this figure. The inaugural Global Handwashing Day puts this often overlooked hygiene challenge at the forefront of the international agenda while keeping children at the heart of each country’s national and local initiatives.

Diarrhoea is both preventable and treatable, yet families in developing countries continue to pay the price of this disease in lost lives, missed school days, reduced resistance to infections, impaired growth, malnutrition and poverty. When coupled with educational initiatives, handwashing with soap is one of the world’s most cost-effective preventive health interventions. It has been proven to reduce the risk not only of the more common forms of diarrhoea, but also some of the more serious diseases such as cholera and dysentery by 48-59 percent.

Carolyn Mills, Director of Nursing and Director of Infection Prevention and Control said, “The Trust is proud to take part in the global handwashing day and supports this initiative. Once everyone starts washing their hands regularly, infections find it much harder to spread. Improved handwashing in the Trust is one of the most important interventions which has contributed to the lowering of our MRSA bloodstream and Clostridium difficile diarrhoea cases in the last year.”

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Last updated: March 6, 2018