What is Hand Hygiene?

Hand Hygiene relates to the removal of visible soil and the removal or killing of transient microorganisms from the hand and may be accomplished using soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

 

Why is this important?

The single most common way of transferring health care-associated infections in a health care setting is on the hands of health care providers. Health care providers move from patient to patient and room to room while providing care and working in the patient environment. This movement provides many opportunities for the transmission of organisms on hands that can cause infections. 

Effective hand hygiene practices in hospitals play a key role in improving patient and provider safety, and in preventing the spread of infections leading to better patient outcomes.

 

What is being measured?

Hospitals are required to report hand hygiene compliance rates to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. A provincial audit tool has been provided to hospitals as part of the ministry’s Just Clean Your Hands program. Hand hygiene compliance rates are reported on a regular basis and made publically available for the following two indications:

Hand hygiene Before Initial Patient/Patient Environment Contact: # of times hand hygiene performed before initial patient/patient environment contact/#observed hand hygiene indications before initial patient/patient environment contact X 100

Hand hygiene After Initial Patient/Patient Environment Contact: # of times hand hygiene performed after patient/patient environment contact/ #observed hand hygiene indications after patient/patient environment contact X 100

 

What actions are we taking to improve patient safety?

Specific improvement strategies include:

  • Ongoing staff education 
  • Implementation of the Ministry of Health’s Core Competencies educational program on Hand Hygiene through e-learning.
  • Increased numbers of alcohol hand rub dispensers placed at point-of care.
  • Ongoing hand hygiene auditing to ensure compliance 
  • Education to patients and visitors on the importance of clean hands.
  • Quarterly newsletter to staff with hand hygiene compliance results reported (audit and feedback)
  • Environmental cleaning best practices
  • Sterilization of equipment
  • Hand Hygiene Blitz!

 

 

Results for 2016-17 # Times Performed # Observed Indications Percent Compliance
Before initial patient/patient environment contact 203 230 88%
After patient/patient Environment contact 416 428 97%

  

Previous Results # Times Performed # Observed Indications Percent Compliance
Before initial patient/patient environment contact 552 643 86%
After patient/patient Environment contact 555 580 96%