We need to win hearts and minds to improve hand hygiene practice

I listened to Reflections’ very own Martin Kiernan share his wisdom on the challenges around hand hygiene improvement this week, and thought I’d share my own reflections on his talk. The key point seemed to be that we have some way to go in winning the hearts and minds of our frontline clinical colleagues if we are to improve hand hygiene practice across the board.

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Reflections from Infection Prevention 2015 Part II: Improving the systems


Welcome to the second installment of my blog-report from Infection Prevention 2015, focused on improving the systems around the delivery of safe healthcare, and infection prevention and control:

Part I: Beating the bugs

Part II: Improving the systems

Part III: Thinking outside the box

The economics of HCAI is going to become increasingly important as the NHS – and healthcare systems worldwide – continue to “seek efficiency savings” (aka demand more for less). So the overview of HCAI economics from Dr Nick Graves (QUT, Australia) was timely. I find it remarkable that we are still so reliant on the 2000 Plowman report to gauge the cost of HCAI – surely there must be a more sophisticated approach? There is something rather uncomfortable about setting an ‘acceptable’ level of HCAI, or putting a £ value that we would be prepared pay to save a life, but this is exactly what we have to do to manage the demands of scarcity. Dr Graves presented some useful worked examples to illustrate his point, around coated catheters, hip replacements, hand hygiene improvement, and MRSA screening. In most cases, there comes a point where a health benefit is too expensive to ‘purchase’, which is an uncomfortable but very real choice across all areas of healthcare (e.g. cancer drugs).

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