HEALTH chiefs are planning events to raise awareness of good hand hygiene.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will spend this week highlighting Global Hand Hygiene Day.
The trust’s infection prevention and control team is behind the plans which run from May 3 to May 10.
Staff will be challenged to create a display that encourages people to get more involved in the issue, with prizes being awarded to winners.
Throughout the week, the team will be visiting wards and departments to give hand-wipe packs out to patients.
They will also be talking to patients about their own hand hygiene and telling them that “it is okay to ask” staff if they have cleaned their hands before caring for them.
Information stands will also be run at the inside of the entrances to both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, focusing on how and when to perform hand hygiene.
Assistant matron for infection prevention and control Debra Jenkins said: “Hand hygiene is the single most important way of preventing the spread of infection and if everyone works together we will continue to reduce the risk of infection
“In the past this event has been a valuable way of engaging staff from all over the trust and reminding them of the importance of hand hygiene.
“We take infection prevention and control and cleanliness very seriously at the trust.”
There are several ways patients and visitors using the trust’s hospitals can help reduce the risk of infection.
l Patients trying to avoid touching wounds;
l Patients limiting the number of items they bring into hospital – clutter makes it more difficult to control infection;
l Visitors not sitting on patients’ beds;
l Visitors who feel unwell and have illnesses, such as colds, should avoid visiting patients unless it is absolutely necessary;
l Most importantly everyone should clean their hands.
Hand Hygiene Day forms part of the World Health Organisation’s global patient safety challenge, to raise awareness of infection control.
Director of nursing, quality and patient safety, Sue Smith, said: “We want to ensure we are giving our patients the best possible care in the best possible environment.
“Events such as this one help to raise awareness of the issue which is exactly what we need to do as we continue our efforts to reduce infection at the trust.”