Author – Dixie Roberts, APRN, C, MPH
Healthcare Associated Infections Coordinator
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
“He who doesn’t prevent grime when he can, encourages it”
In 2007, with the knowledge that hand hygiene compliance is directly related to hospital acquired infections (HAIs), the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) launched the first statewide hand hygiene campaign in alignment with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) international hand hygiene campaign. DHEC, AARP, Mothers Against Medical Error and APIC- Palmetto Chapter soon joined the effort.
This campaign had to be engaging in order to be successful. We selected the theme “Grime Scene Investigators: South Carolina” (GSI:SC), a parody on the popular television series CSI. Enthused about our initiative, the South Carolina Chapter of HOSA and the South Carolina Department of Education joined our effort.
In July 2009 a “summons” was sent to hospital infection prevention and marketing departments and public health regions calling them for training in Grime Scene Investigation. Each hospital received a GSI:SC kit with everything needed to set up a “grime scene” to create awareness while educating people on proper hand hygiene and its importance. Every SCHA member facility and public health region demonstrated their support of the campaign by designating a point of contact.
Our goal was to extend the campaign into the communities by encouraging hospitals to partner with organizations in their area. This served two purposes: educating the public on hand hygiene and encouraging stronger relationships between the hospitals and their communities. We supplemented the GSI:SC kit with a website that included a weekly “Soap Opera” and a GSI:SC store.
In 2010 we reached out to the South Carolina Legislature to sponsor joint resolution declaring May 5, 2010 as South Carolina Clean Hands Day. Over 30 SCHA member hospitals celebrated this important day by hosting hand hygiene events within their hospitals and communities. On May 5, 2011 we plan to continue this tradition with our hospitals.
I am very proud of GSI:SC and its success in South Carolina. I hope other states will take advantage of the resources we have developed and bring their hospitals together to take out grime and save lives in their state.