February

Nurse Brad Vanlandingham talks with nurse Lauren Vanderford about patient safety during Children's of Mississippi's first hospital-wide Hand Hygiene Stand-down.
Nurse Brad Vanlandingham talks with nurse Lauren Vanderford about patient safety during Children's of Mississippi's first hospital-wide Hand Hygiene Stand-down.
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Patient safety topic of Children’s of Mississippi’s first hospital-wide stand-down

Published on Monday, February 21, 2022

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Hand hygiene keeps patients, families and employees safe. That was the message Feb. 15 during Children’s of Mississippi’s first hospital-wide Hand Hygiene Stand-down.

In health care, a stand-down is a break where everyone discusses patient safety. From 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. that day, all entering Children’s of Mississippi units – hospital employees as well as family members of patients – were reminded to wash their hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer whenever entering and exiting patient areas.

Kristin Hardy
Kappler

"Hand hygiene is central to patient safety,” said Kristin Kappler, director of quality and clinical support services at Children’s of Mississippi. “Washing hands and using hand sanitizer greatly reduces the risk of infection and the spread of viruses. Patient safety is important here, so we didn’t have to beg anyone to volunteer for this event.”

Ellen Hansen, chief nursing and clinical services officer, said seeing the enthusiasm for patient safety was exciting.

Ellen Hansen
Hansen

“Seeing so many people coming in early and staying late to participate in this important effort is inspiring,” she said. “Everyone wants to do a great job. Hand hygiene may seem small, but it makes a huge difference.”

Mary Kate Sims, a student in the School of Nursing at UMMC, was handing out stickers giving two thumbs up to clean hands.

Pharmacist Nate D'Mello gets a sticker from nursing student Mary Kate Sims.
Pharmacist Nate D'Mello gets a sticker from nursing student Mary Kate Sims.

“In nursing classes, we are taught to always foam in and foam out of patient areas," Sims said.

Handwashing may sound simple, but some areas including the neonatal intensive care unit require a three-minute scrub with soap and water from fingertips to elbows. Hand sanitizer is used when entering and exiting patient areas.

Care team members including visitors are encouraged to support good hand hygiene by giving each other a thumbs up as a reminder.

Stand-downs in health care settings have been proven to boost patient safety. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, “The Safety Stand-down: A Technique for Improving and Sustaining Hand Hygiene Compliance Among Health Care Personnel,” documented how stand-downs improve hospital safety.

Brad Vanlandingham, a nurse in the Pediatric Emergency Department, was in a children’s hospital corridor during the stand-down offering hand hygiene reminders to coworkers starting their day.

“Handwashing is one of the most important things we do,” he said. “It protects them, and it helps keep us well so we can take care of our patients.”