Programs Hand Hygiene
Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) can be life-threatening, especially for people with serious pre-existing conditions. They are a significant problem in our healthcare system.
To put this into perspective, each year more people die as a result of HAIs than in motor vehicle collisions.
We know that improving hand hygiene among healthcare workers is the single most effective intervention to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections in Australia.
In 2006-2007,the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) conducted the successful Clean Hands Save Lives campaign in all NSW public hospitals. Healthcare workers improved their use of alcohol-based hand rub and hand washing. We can,however,still improve.
This will not only save lives, but will also reduce costs. The ACSQHC has developed a program for achieving high compliance with hand hygiene, as defined by World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Its full implementation across all public and private hospitals is considered the best opportunity to achieve a substantial reduction in healthcare associated infections across Australia.
This will not only save lives, but will also reduce costs. The ACSQHC has retained Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA) to lead the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI). In March 2009, the CEC implemented the NHHI in NSW. It provides a clear, systematic and standardised approach to hand hygiene culture change. The outcome measures for the program are:
- Increase in hand hygiene compliance
- Reduction in rates of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB).
The goal is to make hand hygiene 'core business' for all healthcare workers.
Simple steps by staff and visitors can help reduce the risk of infection to patients, including practising hand hygiene:
- Before touching a patient
- Before a procedure
- After a procedure
- After touching a patient
- After touching the patient's environment
These five points are known as the "5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" promoted by the WHO's World Alliance for Patient Safety campaign - "Clean Care is Safer Care", launched in 2005. Australia is part of this international effort to improve hand hygiene.
Download the "5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" screensaver below.
Auditing of hand hygiene compliance
The audits,based on the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene, will be collected three times each year. They focus on moments for hand hygiene, conducted for individual patient care. The CEC and HHA provide the training to credential "gold standard" assessors, who will then be able to provide training for clinicians to undertake audits on the wards. The audits will contribute to the national data collection and provide the ability to benchmark against other States/Territories and nations. Key staff, considered to be the subject matter experts, e.g., infection control practitioners and educators will be trained as gold standard assessors. Because this is part of a national program, this credential is transferable and is considered a significant achievement.
Use of alcohol-based hand rub
Alcohol-based hand rub should be placed at the point of care, e.g., the foot of the patient's bed. Audits of product accessibility contribute to the improvement activities undertaken to assist improvement in hand hygiene compliance. They will be periodically submitted to the CEC through the program.
Collection of SAB data
The rate of Staph aureus bacteraemia (measured as a proportion of occupied bed days and of separations) is the key outcome measure of the initiative. This will include collection of information about antibiotic sensitivity and whether the infection was likely to have been hospital acquired.
Education of health care workers
Over time, all healthcare workers should participate in an education program to improve knowledge about infection prevention and control. HHA has developed an e-learning package for this purpose. It is suggested that this program be incorporated into orientation and mandatory training for existing staff.
Screensaver: 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene
Remind yourself and others of these five simple points to better hand hygiene everytime you stop using your computer!
- Download the "5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" screensaver for Windows/PC - ZIP ~1.8mb
- Click the "ZIP ~1.8mb" link above to download the screensaver to your hard drive
- Extract the .exe file from the .zip archive
- Double-click the .exe file and "Install" on your "C:\WINDOWS\" drive.
As part of the Clinical Excellence Commission's strategy to encourage hand hygiene, we've created messages-on-hold, available for downloading by hospital teams across NSW. Expect to hear them soon if you phone a hospital near you.
Please, feel free, even if you don't work in the health system, to use the material. The message is simple. Clean your hands. That saves lives.
Talking Wall posters
Download A4 PDFs of the Clean Hands Save Lives Talking Wall posters below.
Get with the program
Poster 1 - PDF ~120kb
Patients need our extra assurance...
Poster 6 - PDF ~115kb
To help, we need a little squirt
Poster 2 - PDF ~130kb
Got a spare 20 seconds to save a life?
Poster 7 - PDF ~95kb
What's your personal best?
Poster 3 - PDF ~205kb
Getting into a lather at work?
Poster 8 - PDF ~175kb
Whatever else you handle in your job, handle some cleanser too
Poster 4 - PDF ~115kb
What's the secret to reducing infections in hospitals?
Poster 9 - PDF ~150kb
Before you put your gloves on...
Poster 5 - PDF ~125kb
The most unlikely patients...
Poster 10 - PDF ~105kb
Patient/visitors targeted resources
- Of course it's OK to tell him... - PDF ~140kb
- Patients, visitors, staff. Please clean your hands - PDF ~200kb
Three Two One Bugs Off! Implementation Guide - PDF ~2.60mb
This document is intended to be a guide to implementing the Hand Hygiene Campaign for NSW Health. It has been designed to allow for some adaptation by local health district hand hygiene project officers, to reflect local circumstances.
Hand Hygiene and Skin Sensitivity Package - PDF ~548kb
Fact sheets - for patients and visitors
"Patients and Visitors: What you need to know about hand hygiene" available in:
- Arabic - PDF ~145kb
- Chinese - PDF ~271kb
- Croatian - PDF ~127kb
- Dinka - PDF ~133kb
- English - PDF ~108kb
- Filipino - PDF ~124kb
- Greek - PDF ~131kb
- Hindi - PDF ~1.03mb
- Indonesian - PDF ~125kb
- Italian - PDF ~126kb
- Japanese - PDF ~201kb
- Khmer - PDF ~160kb
- Korean - PDF ~260kb
- Kurdish - PDF ~144kb
- Macedonian - PDF ~133kb
- Persian - PDF ~141kb
- Portuguese - PDF ~126kb
- Russian - PDF ~135kb
- Serbian - PDF ~133kb
- Spanish - PDF ~126kb
- Tamil - PDF ~136kb
- Turkish - PDF ~129kb
- Vietnamese - PDF ~134kb
Hand hygiene fact sheets
- Frequently asked questions about hand hygiene - PDF ~156kb
- Alcohol hand rubs & hand hygiene - PDF ~179kb
- Gloves & hand hygiene - PDF ~113kb
- Hand hygiene & skin sensitivity - PDF ~115kb
- Hand hygiene when & how - PDF ~123kb
- Hand hygiene with artificial nails & wrist jewellery - PDF ~115kb
Australia committed to address health-care associated infections.
On 10 November 2006, Australia pledged its commitment to address healthcare associated infections, through actions such as promoting understanding of the importance of improving hand hygiene among healthcare providers.
- Further information on countries and regions committed to address healthcare associated infections
- View the pledge - PDF ~259kb
- WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (advanced draft) - PDF ~3.17mb
Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods Guidelines
- Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods in NSW Health - Guidelines for Safe Use - PDF ~1.3mb
Keep up to date with the National Hand Hygiene Initiative in NSW with our newsletters.
Doctors having difficulty keeping their hands clean - and are muddying their reputation in the process... Dr Annette Pantle talks to Cathy Bell from ABC News Radio. - Published, October 19 2009
- Read the transcript - PDF ~16kb
Global Call for Action on Hand Hygiene Day
Professor Cliff Hughes, AO, CEO of the Clinical Excellence Commission, gives his simple message to mark Global Call for Action on Hand Hygiene Day, 2009 - published May 5 2009.