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CPSI Share                                                  
5/6/2012 6:00 PM

​​​​Asking healthcare workers to clean their hands can be an uncomfortable request, yet Alberta Health Services Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and CK Hui Heart Centre in Edmonton, are making it easier for their patients to do just that.The staff are wearing buttons that say, “You can ask me to clean my hands” in an effort to get patients and families more involved in their care.

Renee Delera, RN wearing the “You can ask me to clean my hands” button

Mme Renee Delera, IA porter l'insigne qui dit « Vous pouvez me demander de me laver les mains ».

The Cardiac Sciences Edmonton team is participating in the Safer Healthcare Now!  Stop Infections Now! Collaborative, an 18-month virtual learning program to reduce healthcare-associated infections.  During a weekly meeting on how to get patients and families involved in hand hygiene and make them feel more comfortable in asking staff to clean their hands, a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle was prepared where the idea to create buttons was developed. The buttons were designed onsite and produced using a button-maker borrowed from the Friends of University Hospitals.

“Although we developed and made the buttons together, we have taken different approaches in implementing the button,” says Meagann Dunn, Clinical Nurse Educator, CK Hui Heart Centre   At one Centre the buttons were distributed to all staff on the unit; at the other about 30 champions from cardiac sciences, the lab, respiratory and other areas were identified to trial the buttons initially, and to spread the message to other staff and sustain the momentum of the initiative. This approach has really spurred a lot of interest and when other staff see the button, they ask, how can I get one?

“We have a whole raft of things going on to reduce infections and we are having a lot of fun doing it,” says, Darlene Bartkowski, Clinical Nurse Educator at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. Infection control articles are regularly featured in a monthly newsletter, Rhythm and News, and hand hygiene education is promoted through face-to-face discussions, computer-based simulation training, monthly audits, and weekly positively deviant meetings with liberating structure exercises.  A collection box promotes contests and encourages staff to bring ideas forward that promote good hand hygiene and the environment.

With the assistance of a student on a rotation from a local university, a Patient and Family Hand Hygiene Guide was recently developed using materials from Safer Healthcare Now!  “We also interviewed staff and patients for input on the Guide and that really opened up the lines of communication between patients, families and staff,” add Bartkowski.

For more information on the Stop Infections Now! Collaborative, visit  To learn more about improving hand hygiene practises or to take the hand hygiene assessment, visit​​​