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March 7, 2007

Judie Havers
Corporate Communications & Public Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 58738

London Health Sciences Centre Launches
“Just Clean Your Hands”
A pilot project at 10 Ontario hospitals to improve health care worker hand hygiene

(LONDON, Ontario) - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) announced today that it will be one of ten hospitals across Ontario testing and evaluating a program focused on improving hand hygiene by health care workers. The hospitals involved in the pilot will be instrumental in helping to shape a provincial improvement strategy for hand hygiene compliance among health care workers.

“We are very pleased that LHSC has been selected as a site for this important project”, says Cliff Nordal, President and Chief Executive Officer at LHSC. “Improving hand hygiene amongst health care workers will decrease the human and financial cost of hospital-associated infections on patients and on staff available to deliver care.”

The overall goal of the program is to obtain and sustain a long term improvement in hand hygiene practices by Ontario’s health care workers. Hand hygiene is the single most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Two units at LHSC’s University Hospital, Cardiac Surgery Recovery Unit, 2nd Floor, and General Surgery, 8th Floor, have been selected to participate, representing a total of 80 patients beds.

“When our health care workers clean their hands before and after touching each patient, it helps stop germs from spreading,” said Bernadette MacDonald, Integrated Vice President, Surgery Services at LHSC. “We want to prevent our patients from getting these infections in the first place, and all it takes is for everyone to clean their hands.”

The program “Just Clean Your Hands” has been designed to help build a culture where infection prevention and control is everyone’s business. Beginning in March, the pilot will run for six months at LHSC. It’s a multifaceted program that includes education, senior management commitment, workplace role models and a communications toolkit. As well, alcohol-based hand rubs will be placed where patient care is provided, to make hand cleaning more convenient. The results from the pilot will be evaluated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to determine which components are suitable to be included in a province-wide program.

“The goal of the “Just Clean Your Hands” program is to improve health care worker compliance with proper hand hygiene. LHSC is committed to doing its part to ensure both patients and staff remain as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Michael John, Medical Director, City-Wide Infection Prevention and Control.

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is partnered with London’s other teaching hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.