Jim Gauthier featured as Patient Safety Champion

From Canadian Patient Safety Institute's Hands in Healthcare 2013 magazine

You know those songs that are so catchy you can't get them out of your head? You could go years without hearing them but you still know every word by heart? So does Jim Gauthier and it's just one of the ways he uses music and song to improve hand hygiene compliance. By taking a classic such as "All my Loving" by the Beatles, and changing it to "All my Cleaning," he hopes the message will stick with the listener long after the song has ended.

As an Infection Control Practitioner, Jim says that the patient is the missing link in effective hand hygiene practices to make care safer. He is part of the Providence Care team that has put together a program, where every patient will receive a bottle of hand sanitizer on admission. A label on the hand sanitizer states, 'for patient use' and 'keep on overbed table'. The label also prompts patients, 'if necessary, please ask for assistance in using the product'. Patients who may have difficulty activating a pump bottle will have a symbol placed near their bed, so that staff will know they require assistance with hand hygiene.

When educating on effective hand hygiene, Jim says his greatest learning came from an 80-year old patient who was in intensive care due to an infection. The patient later took the time to write Jim a letter with a list of things to consider from a patient's perspective. "Take the time to listen to your patients and ask them how you can improve upon your hand hygiene practices," says Jim. "The patient can teach you a lot about what is really going on at the bedside. When they tell you what they observe, you can use that as a learning opportunity and make things right for both staff and patients."

Jim Gauthier is an Infection Control Practitioner at Providence Care in Kingston, Ontario. He is the Past President of the Community and Hospital Infection Control Association (CHICA-Canada). providencecare.ca / chica.org

Posted: 2013 October 02