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Inspectors find Aberdeen hospital staff not following correct handwashing guidance

Woodend Hospital, Eday Road, Aberdeen.

Picture by KENNY ELRICK     09/08/2017
Woodend Hospital, Eday Road, Aberdeen. Picture by KENNY ELRICK 09/08/2017

Inspectors found staff at an Aberdeen hospital were not following correct handwashing guidance between treating patients during an unannounced visit this summer.

The Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) watchdog group found that some workers at Woodend Hospital were moving between patients and patient areas without decontaminating their hands.

Some were also wearing the same pair of disposable single-use gloves for multiple tasks when moving between areas and touching surfaces, patients and patient surroundings.

HIS bosses have now published a report outlining 10 areas of improvement.

The visit took place on Wednesday, August 12, and had to be cut short when an emergency was declared following the tragic Stonehaven derailment that left three men dead that morning.

The report states: “As Covid-19 outbreaks appear to affect older
people, our inspections have a combined focus on safety and cleanliness
and care of older people in hospital.

“Some staff groups, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists,
domestic and estates staff, did not perform hand hygiene at the correct
moments as per the World Health Organisation guidelines.

“This involved moving between patients and patient areas without decontaminating their hands.”

The report added that there were no patients at Woodend with suspected or confirmed coronavirus at the time.

But the inspectors “saw that all staff maintained physical distancing where possible and wore surgical face masks in clinical areas at all times”.

The report also highlighted that workers were “well supported by management” through the pandemic and had worked hard to ensure patients could see their loved ones through windows and via video calls during the local lockdown.

Hospital staff were praised for communicating well with relatives regarding the care and treatment of patients, and inspectors felt that wards were well organised and appeared calm.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said regular hand hygiene audits and refresher training in the correct use of PPE are both regularly available and advertised to staff.

But the requirements in the report had made it clear there was still “work to do in meeting best practice for record keeping and infection prevention and control”

Watchdogs also noted that not all patient assessments were being completed on transfer to Woodend and, when they were, they were not always fully or accurately filled in.

The NHS spokeswoman added: “Treating older people with compassion, dignity, and respect is a core part of our values and as this report notes our patients at Woodend are well cared for in a clean environment.”

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