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Home » Infection Prevention & Control » Hand Hygiene Compliance

Hand Hygiene Compliance

Why do we Measure Compliance with Hand Hygiene?

Hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Washing hands with soap and water or cleaning/sanitizing your hands with alcohol-based hand rub are both called hand hygiene. In 2000, it was identified that 8,000 to 12,000 Canadians die every year from infections they acquire while receiving health care. Health care providers move between patients/residents/clients, areas, and room to room, while providing care. This movement provides many chances for germs to be spread by hands. Good hand hygiene will protect patients/residents/clients and staff by reducing the spread of germs. Knowing hand hygiene compliance rates allows us to spend more time teaching the principles and staff who need the most improvement.

What do we Measure?

We watch how often staff clean their hands as they care for patients/residents/clients. We watch them both before and after contact with patients/residents/clients or their environment. All staff members are taught, and therefore expected, to clean their hands before and after patient/resident/client and environmental contact as well as before and after to specific activities of patient/resident/client care. Glove use is not considered a substitute for good hand hygiene. Gloves used in patient/resident/client care are not to be washed and/or sanitized.

How do we Measure Compliance with Hand Hygiene?

Trained monitors observe a sample of Winnipeg Health Region staff and measure compliance against the opportunities for hand hygiene as outlined in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's Infection Prevention and Control manuals. Each opportunity for hand hygiene is noted and a final percent result is calculated from the scores for all areas and healthcare worker categories (e.g., nurses, physicians, dietary, housekeeping). This result provides an accurate representation of how hand hygiene occurs within the reporting area.

What are the Target and Goals of Hand Hygiene?

Our goal is to continuously improve our hand hygiene, aiming minimally for 80% compliance, with a target of 100% compliance.

What are we doing to Improve?

Each staff member receives hand hygiene training, and is expected to clean their hands as previously instructed while at work. The Winnipeg Health Region supplies hand hygiene products, e.g. hand soap, alcohol based hand rub, paper towels, and lotion for staff as well as for patients/residents/client and visitors. The Winnipeg Health Region reports the hand hygiene compliance rates measured back to the staff in the areas monitored. If improvement is needed, it is targeted through the area; multiple educational tools/methods are available for staff to learn how to improve their compliance. Rates are also reported four times a year to the Winnipeg Health Region Senior Management and Board as well as posted on our public website so staff, as well as the public, know the Winnipeg Health Region's hand hygiene compliance rates.

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