What is hand hygiene?
Hand hygiene relates to the removal of visible soil and the removal or killing of transient microorganisms from the hands and may be accomplished using soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Why is hand hygiene so important?
Hand hygiene is an important practice for health care providers and has a significant impact on reducing the spread of infections in hospitals. Hand hygiene is a different way of thinking about safety and patient care and involves everyone in the hospital, including patients and health care providers.
Effective hand hygiene practices in hospitals play a key role in improving patient and provider safety, and in preventing the spread of health care-associated infections.
Why is hand hygiene compliance one of the publicly reported indicators?
The single most common transmission of health care-associated infections (HAIs) in a health care setting is via transiently colonized hands of health care workers who acquire it from contact with colonized or infected patients, or after handling contaminated material or equipment. Monitoring hand hygiene practices and the provision of timely feedback are vital to improving compliance and, in turn, reducing HAIs.
What are health care-associated infections?
Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called health care-associated infections.
How will the public reporting of hand hygiene compliance affect compliance among health care professionals?
There are many factors that will improve hand hygiene compliance. Mandatory public reporting is one element. Certainly the increasing recent attention on the issue as well as the provincial government’s multifaceted hand hygiene program called Just Clean Your Hands are important to ensuring effective hand hygiene at the right times.
What can patients do to help improve their own safety?
Hand hygiene involves everyone in the hospital, including patients. Hand cleaning is one of the best ways you and your health care team can prevent the spread of many infections. Patients and their visitors should also practice good hand hygiene before and after entering patient rooms.
What will the health care system do with the rate information?
Like the public reporting of other indicators, monitoring hand hygiene compliance rate is about overall performance improvement. The information gathered will assist hospitals with evaluating the effectiveness of their infection prevention and control interventions and make further improvements based on this information.