Clean Hands Save Lives

The following article was written by Merrill Chaus, RN and was originally posted on the Team Sinai Haiti blog.  Merrill has visited Haiti on numerous occasions and recently wrote an article titled “Dark Side of Doing Good” for haitibones that is well worth reading if you have an interest in volunteering overseas.

On August 2, 2015 Operation Rainbow/Team Sinai conducted a nursing workshop at Hôpital Adventiste d’Haiti in Carrefour.  The idea for this conference evolved in response to research and interviews for my MPH thesis, in which I explored local health care worker perceptions regarding short-term surgical missions.  Recommendations from the local healthcare workers included a desire for more nursing education in the local language.  The purpose of this 2-day conference was to honor this request.   Topics of interest suggested by the nursing director included: Infection Prevention, Role of the Operating Room Nurse, and Care of the PACU (Post-operative Care Unit) patient.  In addition to these presentations, Dr. Francel Alexis gave an informative lecture on TSF (Taylor Spatial Frame).  There were 70 participants, which included nursing students from the university, HAH nurses, housekeeping, PT and a physician.

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An educational highlight was Dr. Alexis’ patient demonstration on dressing change and pin site care for the TSF patients

Our nursing instructors Johanne Sequin and Nadine Henry, both from Shriners Hospital in Montreal, Canada gave 6 talks in French and Creole.  Johanne has 40 years of experience as an Operating Room Nurse and Nadine has 30 years experience in pediatric and adult PACU. Recruiting experienced instructors that spoke the local languages was key.  Brittany Herzenberg, our administrative assistant, kept us on time and organized.  She even secured a small generator when we lost electricity to the LCD projector.

The handrub formulation is evidence-based, utilizes local resources and provides access for healthcare providers at point of care. Four local nurses formed an infection prevention committee to oversee production and utilization of the handrub.

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HAH nursing students showing the results of the handwashing test

After a hospital wide assessment, dispensers were placed at strategic locations away from electric outlets, medical gases and light switches.  According to Mac, the Haitian volunteer coordinator, dispensers are actively being used and refilled when necessary.

Break out sessions were arranged so participants could practice: donning and doffing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), proper hand hygiene technique and simulate real case scenarios that may occur in the OR, PACU or wards. Course certificates were given at completion of each workshop (see banner image).

The conference concluded with a demonstration on how to make alcohol based handrub according to World Health Organization guidelines. We are thankful for the invaluable support of the administrative staff. HAH provided two air conditioned rooms and lunch for all participants.

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Merrill and Nadine teaching the local infection committee how to create Hand Rub from alcohol, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide

Team Sinai will be returning to HAH this January for our annual surgical mission, this time with an emphasis on foot and ankle surgery.

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