It takes an army of people dedicated to fighting germs, which are always prevalent in places where sick people receive care.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority Infection Prevention and Control team in Regina.
Earlier this year, the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Infection Prevention and Control department in Regina reported a significant decrease in transmission rates for germs patients can acquire while in a hospital or a long-term care home.
“As many people in hospital have compromised immune systems, they’re more likely to contract a germ, so our measures have to be stringent,” says Kateri Singer, former Director of the Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Department for Regina. The Regina IPAC team was able to decrease the number of healthcare-acquired germs by working collaboratively with many departments on hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and proper use of personal protective equipment.
Because of this focus, regional hand hygiene rates in patient care areas increased from 34 per cent in 2013 to a whopping 85 per cent in 2018. Furthermore, in 2018, the percentage of health care workers identified with artificial nails or nail polish was one per cent, with a rate of just three per cent for inappropriate jewelry, such as rings with stones that could transmit germs.
“Hand washing is vitally important to preventing the spread of germs, so this increase in the handwashing rate is fantastic,” says Singer, “and we are so proud of our staff, who are putting our patients first by being so careful with what they wear on their hands.”
As the result of this work, the total number of overall outbreaks at the Regina General Hospital and Pasqua Hospital decreased by 67 per cent between 2015 and 2018. Also during this time frame, the rate of three common types of healthcare-acquired germs dropped between 44 per cent and 74 per cent in acute care facilities in Regina.
“None of this would have been possible without all staff working together for the common goal of patient and family centred care, as well as the safety of all staff,” notes Singer. “It was due to the diligence of staff that we were able to yield these fantastic results.”