Facts about healthcare associated infections

  • Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are the most common serious complication of hospitalization: one out of every nine patients admitted to a Canadian hospital develops an HAI.
  • In Canada, it's estimated 220,000 incidents of HAI occur every year, resulting in between 8,000 and 12,000 deaths.
  • Twenty years ago, HAI were the 11th leading cause of death. Now they are the 4th surpassed only by cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Increasing the hand hygiene rate by 20 per cent results in a 40 per cent reduction in HAIs.
  • At least 50 per cent of HAIs can be prevented.
  • Most healthcare providers believe they're already practicing good hand hygiene.
  • Research has shown hand hygiene is generally less than 40 per cent. The Region's hand hygiene campaign aims to protect the patient - as well as staff - against harmful germs carried on staff members' hands.

Staff should clean hands:

Before interacting with a patient/resident/client, including when:

  • Providing hands-on care;
  • Putting on gloves;
  • Performing invasive procedures;
  • Handling dressings / touching open wounds;
  • Preparing / administering medications;
  • Preparing, handling or serving food;
  • Feeding a patient; and
  • After shifts and breaks

After interacting with a patient/resident/client, including when:

  • Performing any invasive procedure;
  • Having contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin and / or
    mucous membranes;
  • Having contact with items known or considered to be contaminated;
  • Removing gloves; and
  • After shifts and breaks

And between:

  • Performing several procedures on the same patient where soiling of
    hands is likely.

Hands should be cleaned by:

  • Using an Alcohol-based rub (ABHR). ABHR (content between 60 per cent and 90 per cent) is the preferred method for cleaning hands in health care. When hands aren't visibly soiled it is better to use than washing with soap and water.
  • Using soap and water. Hand washing with soap and water must be done when hands are visibly soiled.

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Traditional Territories Acknowledgement
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
Click here to read more about the WRHA's efforts towards reconciliation

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