Clean Hands Save Lives

Clean Hands Save Lives

By Dr. Jeff Powis, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control
 
One interesting behaviour that I’ve noticed as an infectious disease physician is how nervously we health care workers approach a patient who may have bedbugs, or lice, or scabies. All of us – from physicians and nurses to the people who deliver food trays – tend to respect the infection control protocols of gowns and gloves and hand hygiene on these patients. Of course, that makes sense – we don’t want to bring home these “creepy crawlies” to our partners and children and thousand-dollar mattresses!
 
But what I find interesting is how many of us in the healthcare field don’t apply that same approach when the “creepy crawly” is not an insect but a bacteria or a virus.
 
On May 5th we celebrated the World Health Organization (WHO) World Hand Hygiene Day. This annual event is meant to raise the awareness and profile of the importance of hand hygiene. We all know that we need to wash our hands in order to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Despite this knowledge, we don’t wash our hands enough. Our best estimates of hand hygiene compliance (HHC) at our own hospital are approximately 50%.
 
When you touch a patient in hospital (or their bed or their table), you are potentially contaminating your hands with whatever microbes happen to be living in that patient’s environment. And if you don’t “decontaminate” your hands as you leave that patient’s room, you are just as likely – probably more likely – to pass on that infection to another patient, a colleague, or a family member, as you are if the patient had bedbugs.
 
On the morning of May 5th we spent time with MGH staff asking each of them to make a pledge to improve their own HHC. We took pictures of you holding a WHO placard with the 2017 slogan “Fight Antibiotic Resistance: Its In Your Hands”. Below is a collage of over 150 MGH staff photos. We will be placing these posters all over the hospital as a reminder to all of us of our pledge to improve HHC.
 
Together, let’s all embrace improving our HHC and keeping our patients safer. Remember that some of the most harmful “creepy crawlies” are the ones the human eye can’t see, but hand hygiene can eliminate!
 
Follow me on twitter @jpowi
 

Why “going it alone” doesn’t work in health care!

Why “going it alone” doesn’t work in health care!

By Irene Andress, Chief Nursing Executive
 
At Michael Garron Hospital, nurses play a key role in problem solving – applying their knowledge and skill at the frontlines and at the system level. Recently, I’ve been intrigued to revisit nursing theory in guiding our practice especially as it relates to the complex and ever changing needs of those we serve – our patients and families.
 
I encourage you to look at models like the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care. Developed in 1990’s, refined by Hardin, 2005, and rooted in the critical care setting, the core concept suggests that “synergy” results when the needs or characteristics of the patient/their circumstance matches the nurses’ core competencies.
 
At its core, successful models of care connect the right care provider with the priority patient need which considers how family and community contribute to the nurse – patient caring relationship. In our hospital, given our patient acuity and need, the Synergy theory is foundational to our care delivery model.
 
As the largest body of health care providers at MGH, nurses are situated in the care setting in many diverse roles from the bedside to the boardroom, working within great teams and in partnership with other clinical and corporate professionals.
 
I’m incredibly proud of the accomplishments and achievements of many of MGH’s nurses: from Daisy Award winners to Nightingale nominees and recipients. Nursing is present in the details and when we get those details right, our patients and the broader health care system wins.
 
There’s an African proverb I know that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
 
Let’s face it, in health care, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
 
And the truth is, no one person or professional – or category of nurse – has all the answers to solving all that ails the system. Our organization and broader health system works when we all work together, problem solving collaboratively with the interest of the patient and their family at the forefront.
 
As nurses, we must also remember we are one profession, many faces.
 
Yes. This is Nursing. And this is the MGH way.
 
I’d like to share a special video that highlights some of the important work that nurses – in partnership with other professionals – engage in that’s helping to improve the safety and quality of care we provide.
 

Happy Nursing Week!
 
Join me on Twitter @IreneAndress