Hand Hygiene in Health Care: Don’t Stop Using Common Sense
There is good news for patients around the world scheduled to have surgery on May 5, 2010. You may experience a reduced risk for hospital-acquired infections thanks to the observance of a world hand hygiene day. The World Health Organization (WHO) leads this global campaign promoting the importance of hand hygiene within the health care setting.
On this day, health care providers in participating facilities around the globe will be reminded of when and how to wash their hands based on the WHO’s “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene” approach and its official guidelines.
Here in Canada, the day is being celebrated as Stop! Clean Your Hands Day and our health care providers will take note of “Your 4 Moments for Hand Hygiene” approach adapted from the original standard.
Participating Canadian health care organizations and facilities have access to a variety of tools for monitoring compliance to the program including various checklists to be completed by health care providers. For those short on time, a condensed “on the spot” version of the checklist is available. Registrants will also receive new report cards developed by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) for patients and their family members to record their observations of hand hygiene practices. These cards include paid postage for mailing the results back to the CPSI who will then provide this feedback to the participating organizations. Alternatively, if the health care facility supports “Ask. Listen. Talk.” then feel free to just tell them your results. A helpful handout is available on one of the CPSI’s websites outlining how to best address the issue of hand hygiene with your health care providers. Patients and their family members should also be prepared to answer questions about their own hand hygiene practices within the health care setting.
Undoubtedly, good hand hygiene practices in the health care environment can lead to reduced rates of hospital-acquired infections. However, a health care environment in which process infects and overwhelms common sense poses a much greater danger to both patients and providers.