We’ve all likely heard about or seen the latest Joint Commission announcement on hand hygiene-
“Effective January 1, 2018, for all accreditation programs, any observation by surveyors of individual failure to perform hand hygiene in the process of direct patient care will be cited as a deficiency resulting in a Requirement for Improvement…”.
The announcement certainly makes sense, since we already know that hand hygiene is one of the easiest ways to lower HAI’s. But what happens when your hand hygiene compliance is improving? Or it’s already great? Does the Joint Commission give gold stars out to those who are meeting expectations?
What about those organizations that are doing well? Those who achieve and sustain above 97% hand hygiene compliance? Everyone is so concerned with doing the right thing all the time that we sometimes need to take a step back and honor the small things…even if it’s part of your job, even if you always remember to clean your hands, even if you are the only one doing it. Celebrate it.
I’ve had the honor of speaking to some incredible hospital leaders who do this very thing. Over the last year, they have spiked their organization’s compliance numbers upward. For the Infection Preventionists, increasing hand hygiene compliance numbers are exciting. For the rest of the healthcare workers, they aren’t really aware…unless there is something else involved.
I had a couple of recent conversations with Infection Prevention leaders who are making efforts to celebrate their teams. In Idaho, and IP leaders shared with me that although things were good, they were (at times) still struggling with compliance. I asked her how we could help and then decided that we should come and throw a party for the staff. This idea seemed to turn things around. My colleague Brooke had the honor of visiting them and delivered pizzas to all the nursing stations during the evening shift– and shortly thereafter, compliance started increasing again. Another leader in infection prevention shared with me that a nurse manager from her hospital in California recently threw a party fo r her team who achieved 90% compliance– and those numbers are still rising. In addition, they honored the top 15 performers by taking them out to fancy dinner with their CNO.
So, while you are constantly reminding and asking your teams to credit their hand hygiene, it’s also important to show your appreciation when they meet or exceed expectations. As a big believer in celebrating even the little things in life, the case of healthcare workers and improved hand hygiene compliance is no little thing. Celebrating is in order!