Hygiene for little hands: Helping Children’s Hospital patients stay healthy

It was standing room only June 27th in the Family Waiting Room on B6 when Children’s Hospital launched a customized hand washing campaign intended to help paediatric patients and their families stay healthy inside and outside of London Health Sciences Centre.

Thanks to funding from the Children’s Health Foundation, paediatric inpatient and day unit patients aged four to nine are now learning about hand hygiene, checking their hand-washing skills with Glitterbug’s ultraviolet light technology, and taking home the Canadian Institute of Child Health’s colouring book “William: Won’t You Wash Your Hands?”.

“The introduction of “William: Won’t You Wash Your Hands?” offers parents the opportunity to educate their little ones, imprinting good hand hygiene techniques for home and hospital, as well as providing a good review of hand hygiene techniques for parents, the child’s siblings, family, and friends,” said Val Rousom, Director of Children’s Care, Children’s Hospital, before joining Children’s Health Foundation President and CEO Susan Crowley in demonstrating the Glitterbugs.

“This campaign provides an enjoyable learning experience for families where Children’s Hospital staff are working with patients and families. This inclusive approach to hand hygiene is expected to improve the patient experience as well as increase quality and safety for our wee patients and their families.”

According to Health Canada, “Washing your hands correctly (or using an alcohol-based hand rub) is the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself against a number of infectious diseases. Not only will it help keep you healthy, it will help prevent the spread of infectious diseases to others.”

The new paediatric hand hygiene program was developed by Lisa Kroesbergen, an Infection Control Practitioner who said young children, those with chronic illnesses and those who are immunocompromised are all at heightened risk of becoming critically ill from infections that may be preventable through good hand hygiene.

“By educating this population and their families, we are giving them the tools they need to help keep themselves healthy,” Kroesbergen told the crowd. “We are also influencing a generation to practice proper hand washing as a standard behavior.”
“Children’s Health Foundation is very proud to support the paediatric hand washing initiative in collaboration with Children’s Hospital,” said Crowley. “While it seems simple, this initiative is vitally important in demonstrating proper hand hygiene to our young patients.”