Squeaky clean hands protect our patients

This Global Hand Hygiene Day (May 5), WSLHD is celebrating its commitment to super clean hands – with the district’s hand hygiene rates currently sitting well above the national and state average.

Improving hand hygiene is recognised as one of the most effective ways to reduce infections in hospitals.

Experts are reminding health workers that key to fighting antibiotic resistance is correct hand hygiene.

Endorsed by the World Health Organization, Global Hand Hygiene Day this year is themed: “fight antibiotic resistance – it’s in your hands.”

WSLHD’s hand hygiene rate is currently sitting at 84.2 per cent – well above the NSW benchmark of 75 per cent.

WSLHD Infection Prevention & Control Unit clinical nurse consultant Jo Tallon, said she was very proud of WSLHD staff.

“We’re continuing to raise the bar with our hand hygiene rates. It’s clear we are very committed to patient safety and good compliance,” she said.

“Ongoing improvement plays a huge role in keeping our patients safe and free from healthcare-associated infections.”

Healthcare-associated infections, including surgical site infections and device-associated infections, occur worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of patients annually. The rate of transmission in the healthcare setting has led to increases in avoidable infections, which can have serious consequences if not treated.

NSW hospitals, through the CEC, also work with Hand Hygiene Australia, which provides regular hand hygiene audits based on the World Health Organization Hand Hygiene Guidelines.

In NSW, there are more than 220 facilities that regularly submit data as part of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative.

NSW public hospitals submit around 200,000 audited hygiene “moments” each audit period – which is 49 per cent of the national data – and local hospitals use their hand hygiene data to develop patient safety improvement programs.

Correct hand hygiene involves 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene

The moments are identified as:

  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before a procedure
  3. After a procedure or body fluid exposure risk
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching a patient’s surroundings.

For more information on Global Hand Hygiene Day, visit  http://www.hha.org.au/home.asp or http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en/

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