Paper Supports Focus On Hospitals Hand Hygiene

A paper 1 published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal supports a focus on improving hand hygiene in hospitals to reduce hospitalacquired infections

Implementation of the Hand Hygiene New Zealand HHNZ programme began at Auckland District Health Board DHB in January 2009 Health care workers in each ward and clinical area were provided with information about hand hygiene including the World Health Organizations 5 moments of hand hygiene

An evaluation of the programme after 36 months found compliance with hand hygiene requirements rose from 35 to 60 percent During this time there was a reduction in the rates of the bloodstream infection Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia

Health Quality Safety Commission Chief Executive Dr Janice Wilson says the Auckland DHB study demonstrates the benefits to patients from an increased focus on hand hygiene in our hospitals The Commission partners with Auckland DHB to deliver the Hand Hygiene New Zealand programme2

Hand hygiene is one of the most important measures in the fight against health careacquired infections making it a key patient safety issue within the health sector

We know from international evidence that improved hand hygiene practices help reduce health careacquired infections including antibioticresistant infections within hospitals

This study adds to the growing weight of evidence that having clean hands before and after contact with patients is one of the most important things health care workers can do to prevent infections It also supports continued work with hospitals to increase compliance with hand hygiene measures

Clinical Lead of the Hand Hygiene New Zealand programme Dr Joshua Freeman also supported these views and added that reports such as this highlight the value of DHBs investing in local hand hygiene programmes but stated that to be most effective support is required from senior leadership

Effecting hand hygiene behaviour change requires not only a sustained awareness programme but it requires the full backing and support from senior leadership within each DHB

The WHO estimates millions of patients around the world are affected by infections acquired in health care settings These infections contribute to deaths and disability promote resistance to antibiotics complicate the delivery of patient care and impose extra costs on health systems

The WHO has identified five key moments when health workers should perform hand hygiene

1 before patient contact

2 before a procedure

3 after a procedure or body fluid exposure

4 after patient contact

5 after contact with patient surroundings

Date : 11 May, 2012
Reference :

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