About Wash-Up

  • Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI)

    Hospital-Acquired Infections, or "nosocomial" infections, remain an important cause of illness in hospitals. The organisms (bacteria and viruses) that cause most of these infections are spread from patient to patient on the hands of  Health Care Workers. To this day, 10% of patients acquire a nosocomial infection in hospital and in Australia, ~ 7,000 patients die each year as a result.

    Hand Hygiene in the healthcare setting is a critical component of patient safety and SAVES LIVES !

    What is Wash-Up ?

    Washup Competency Package
    All clinical staff including doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and PSA's must complete the Wash Up Competency Package annually.

    Wash-Up was a three-year project developed by the Infection Control Department  at The Royal Women's Hospital and The Royal Children's Hospital. It ran between 2003-2005 and was funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as a Quality Improvement and Best Practice Project. The team consisted of a Project Coordinator and a Steering Committee of medical and nursing representatives from the pilot wards.

    Aims of Wash-Up:

    • To increase hand hygiene compliance of healthcare workers (HCWs) with a specific focus on the paediatric, obstetric and gynaecological hospital setting.
    • To increase consumer awareness regarding hygiene practices in the hospital as well as the community.  
    • To implement cost effective and achievable hand hygiene guidelines to ensure practices are complied with in the hospital setting.
    • To develop a program that will promote and sustain hand hygiene practices.

    Project Strategies:

    Most studies conducted to improve hand hygiene compliance have been carried out in the adult setting.
    Many of these studies have focussed on a single intervention such as a educational program and performance feedback. Such studies have been associated with temporary improvements without a sustained effect.
    Wash-Up aimed to introduce several strategies to improve and sustain hand hygiene compliance.

    web_waterThese strategies include:

    • Audit hand hygiene opportunities
      • audit results
      • observational audit tool
    • Nosocomial sepsis surveillance in high risk areas
      • surveillance results
    • Introduction of alcohol gel at the cot / bedside
    • Education campaign for healthcare workers, patients and families
    • Changing the ward / hospital culture

    Victorian Hand Hygiene Project

    In November 2007, we joined the Victorian Hand Hygiene Project  http://www.health.vic.gov.au/qualitycouncil/activities/handhyg.htm
    As part of this project, DHS compulsorarily requires Hand Hygiene audits of all public hospitals 3 times per year.