Does your healthcare facility meet current infection prevention and control standards? If they’re not following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene,” as suggested by the Joint Commission, the answer is likely no.
In its January 2018 statement, the Joint Commission said it’s widely known that hand hygiene is the most important intervention for preventing HAIs, however actual hand hygiene compliance rates are estimated to average 50 percent or less.
Hand hygiene compliance plays a critical role in reducing HAIs. According to the CDC, when healthcare professionals actively engage in infection prevention measures, such as effective hand hygiene protocols, it’s possible to reduce the rates of certain HAIs by more than 70 percent. That’s an astounding improvement, but it’s up to healthcare staff to champion clean care in order to achieve improved compliance.
In honor of the WHO’s World Hand Hygiene Day, May 5, and its theme to support quality healthcare for all, here are some tips for facility leaders on how to implement an effective hand hygiene performance improvement program.
- Create top-down Commitment. Employees are more likely to comply with hand hygiene protocols if they witness hospital leaders doing the same. Encouraging leadership to demonstrate commitment by complying with hand hygiene protocols, as well as communicating its importance to staff, can help foster a culture of compliance.
- Track and Report. Electronic monitoring programs provide powerful information that healthcare professionals can use to understand, track and improve their hand hygiene performance. The data can complement the use of observations for real-time coaching and feedback. Consider implementing an electronic hand hygiene compliance system that has been clinically proven to improve hand hygiene performance and reduce HAIs.
- Share Results. Share consistent and reliable data correlating HAI rates to hand hygiene compliance rates with employees so they can visualize the direct impact of hand hygiene on lower incidences of infection. Clinically validated data lends credibility to the message and has been shown to lead to higher performance.
- Post reminders. Reinforce hand hygiene education efforts with hospital staff by posting reminders in staff breakrooms, restrooms, locker rooms and other high-visibility locations. Reminder discussions should also take place during every meeting and daily huddle, whether unit-specific or all-staff.