Why me? Development and evaluation of a hand hygiene educational workshop for low compliance medical staff in an Emergency Department

Mrs Kaye Bellis1, Ms Christine  Sharp1, Ms Pauline Bass1

1Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia


Historically, medical staff in Emergency Departments (EDs) have been observed to have lower rates of hand hygiene (HH) compliance when compared to staff in other clinical departments. We sought to engage ED medical staff through a targeted education strategy.


Initial consultation with medical staff in a workshop forum elicited the following responses: “What did we do wrong?” “Why did we have to come to this workshop?” To gain better insight into why ED doctors had a low compliance, dedicated auditor-training workshops were run, supported by the ED Medical Director. Staff allocation and ‘protected time’ were apportioned to ensure workshop attendance. A brief pre- and post-questionnaire was given to all attendees.


Overall, nine medical staff attended two workshops. Pre-workshop surveys revealed a range of perceived reasons for HH auditing (patient safety, prevention of infection, hospital accreditation), and a minority rated HH compliance as unsatisfactory. Post-workshop surveys revealed improved understanding regarding HH practices, and staff indicated areas of improvement in their own practices, including HH prior to patient contact and procedures, between procedures/ touching different parts of one patient, use of moisturiser, HH on leaving patient area, between touching patient and inserting IV, and appropriate use of gloves.


A ‘top-down’ approach is necessary for support of educational initiatives in clinical departments. Following this strategy, our ED now has medical role models and mentors to disseminate HH requirements and support auditing processes.


Kaye is well know to many of you and along with her passion for Hand hygiene. After over 20 years in Infection Prevention she still embraces the challenges that Infection prevention offers on a daily basis.

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