HOSPITALS in Limerick have performed better than average on hand hygiene, according to inspections carried out by HIQA nationwide over the last year.
Inspectors monitoring compliance with infection control standards made unannounced visits to hospitals all around the country, including University Hospital Limerick on December 10 last and at Croom Hospital on December 11.
Cleanliness of the environment is a key area assessed by HIQA in seeking to limit hospital bugs and evidence of “thin layers of dust” and cracked surfaces were found in both Limerick hospitals.
But in terms of the environmental standards, HIQA concluded – in respect of both UHL and Croom – that “overall, the physical environment and patient equipment were clean and well maintained”.
Inspectors also assessed hand hygiene standards with one of the tools employed being the observation of staff before and after coming into contact with patients. Nationally, 31% of such “hand-cleaning opportunities” were missed by healthcare staff. But the Limerick hospitals fared better with 18 of 22 hand-cleaning opportunities taken in UHL and 8 out of 11 in Croom.
UL Hospitals this week welcomed HIQA’s findings.
“We would like to thank the staff in Dooradoyle and Croom for their commitment to the hand hygiene programme and welcome the positive report from HIQA,” commented clinical directors for medicine and peri-operative, Dr Con Cronin and Dr John Kennedy, in a joint statement. “We are committed to improving patient safety and the environment for patients and the report identified evidence of good practice in both locations. We are implementing our action plan to address the deficits identified and build on the areas where we have demonstrated good practice.”
“UL Hospitals recognise the importance of hand hygiene and its significant role in infection control and prevention and have been working to improve hand hygiene compliance. Hand hygiene training is provided to all staff - this is mandatory training and repeated frequently. Unannounced hand hygiene audits by senior clinical staff within the hospitals are carried out to ensure that compliance and training is prioritised. The hospital is implementing an action plan to address deficits identified by HIQA and to build on the areas where good practice has been demonstrated.”
Inspectors who visited Dooradoyle were also informed of measures taken by the HSE to prevent the spread of infection or airborne organisms associated with ongoing construction work.