Observers, coaches will help employees improve hand hygiene and meet 2014 PIP goal

Just in Time coach Michelle Goncalves, RN, left, demonstrates proper hand-cleaning technique for Matilda Ankrah, RN, on the General Cardiac Unit, Saint Raphael Campus. The coaches are part of the hospital's expanded hand hygiene efforts.
Just in Time coach Michelle Goncalves, RN, left, demonstrates proper hand-cleaning technique for Matilda Ankrah, RN, on the General Cardiac Unit, Saint Raphael Campus. The coaches are part of the hospital's expanded hand hygiene efforts.

In the coming weeks more eyes will be riveted on employees' hands, as YNHH strives to prevent hospital-acquired infections and meet its FY 2014 hand hygiene PIP goal.

Hand hygiene is so critical to patient safety, the hospital has established a threshold PIP goal of 91 percent compliance, a target goal of 93 percent and a stretch goal of 96 percent.

To help employees develop good hand hygiene habits 24/7 and reach the PIP goal, the hospital has been conducting a pilot program in which observers gather robust hand hygiene compliance data on select nursing units at each campus.

The program also includes Just in Time (JIT) coaches, who provide positive reinforcement to employees who practice proper hand hygiene and ask staff who do not what is preventing them from doing so. "The observers and coaches are not there to specifically identify and blame employees but to promote patient safety through consistent hand hygiene," said Diane Vorio, RN, MSN, vice president, Patient Services and associate chief nursing officer. "The coaches help raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and identify barriers that prevent employees from properly cleaning their hands."

Observers and JIT coaches are hospital employees specially trained for the roles. The roles are part of The Joint Commission's "Targeted Solutions Tools" hand hygiene best practices, which will eventually be rolled out hospital-wide. "Practicing good hand hygiene is up to each employee," said Jeannette Bronsord, RN, MSN, director, Patient Services. "We're confident that firsthand observation, along with face-to-face feedback, will help employees develop good hand hygiene habits."

The Joint Commission tools expand upon YNHH's hand hygiene Influencer Model, which encourages employees to wash in/wash out, practice 200 percent accountability and say "thank you" when they observe someone practicing good hand hygiene, or when someone reminds them to clean their hands. The Influencer Model also includes unit-based hand hygiene champions, more of whom have been trained for 2014 to cover all shifts on all units. In addition, the hospital will add touch-free foam Purell dispensers on all nursing units.

"All of these efforts underscore the importance of hand hygiene," said John Boyce, MD, director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control. "Properly cleaning your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent hospital-acquired infections, and can make an enormous difference in our patients' lives."