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CPSI Share                                                  
3/1/2012 5:00 PM

​​What have we done to enable the patient is a question that the Timmins and District Hospital staff is asking when looking at their hand hygiene practices.  The hospital has focused on hand hygiene throughout the organization since 2009 and made some great gains, but they know they can do more.

Timmins District Hospital joined the STOP Infections Now Collaborative to learn more about positive deviance and liberating structures so that they could build capacity within teams. They have since found these tools useful for other improvement opportunities within the organization.

The hospital recently used the Model for Improvement and the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle to observe if patients were washing their hands, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before meals. “What we found is that although we have hand sanitizer in the patient’s rooms, it is not in a standard location and often not accessible to the patient,” says Jennifer Plant, Quality and Performance Improvement Manager at Timmins District Hospital.  The hospital is now mounting brackets on overhead tables to have a standard location for hand sanitizer in every hospital room. 

To raise the profile and demonstrate the importance of auditing, senior leadership is involved in the audit process and the hospital is using TRIZ exercises (a problem-solving tool to stimulate idea creation) to look at their hand hygiene auditing practices.  “We are asking how we can make auditing so bad that no one wants to do it,” says Plant.  “It helps the frontline provider make parallels to current processes and identify what processes can be improved.”

Plant says that one of the most valuable learnings she has taken from the Collaborative is that while planning is important, engaging your staff does not have to be structured and organized in a formal setting.  “I can get great feedback from an ad hoc, five-minute discussion when stopping by a ward, rather than booking a room and asking people to attend a meeting.”

“Our success has been based on our ability to engage frontline staff and obtain their ideas and input on what would work,” says Plant. “You can never underestimate the value of ideas that come from the frontline. They take ownership and willingly share ways to improve hand hygiene practices.”

Planning is now underway to celebrate STOP! Clean Your Hands Day on Monday, May 7, 2012, and Timmins and District Hospital are looking to partner with a community organization and the local media to raise the profile of good hand hygiene practices.  They will promote the availability of alcohol-based hand rub at the hospital entrances, profile displays on hand hygiene and the environment with a glow-germ demonstration, and engage in an auditing blitz.

Click on the link for more information about STOP! Clean Your Hands Day and for hand hygiene tools and resources, visit