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Establish a uniform approach to hand hygiene across the public health care sector.
Hands are one of the main pathways for germ transmission within healthcare and the community. Effective hand hygiene is one of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of infections.
There are around 165,000 healthcare associated infections nationally each year, making healthcare associated infections (HAI) the most common healthcare complication affecting patients in hospital.
Studies show that effective hand decontamination (hand hygiene) can significantly reduce the rate of healthcare associated infection.
As part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) First Global Patient Safety Challenge, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) established the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) in 2008 as part of a suite of initiatives to prevent and reduce healthcare-associated infections in Australian healthcare settings.
The NHHI uses a multi-modal approach to improving hand hygiene and includes:
Compliance with hand hygiene according to the WHO '5 Moments for hand hygiene' is recorded by trained and validated auditors. Hospitals are required to submit data three times per year according to the NHHI schedule. The number of 'moments' required to be audited is proportional to the size of the hospital.
As per the NHHI, each hospital or Local Health Network (LHN) should have a Hand Hygiene Program Coordinator who is responsible for the governance and oversight of local hand hygiene programs.
For queries related to the NHHI, refer to the ACSQHC NHHI website or contact your LHN Hand Hygiene Program Coordinator:
The SA Health Hand Hygiene Policy Directive (PDF 299KB) establishes a uniform approach to hand hygiene across the public health sector.
The associated SA Health Hand Hygiene Guideline (PDF 223KB) summarises best practice for healthcare workers in the clinical setting.
The SA Health Why is hand hygiene important? infographic details the overall hand hygiene compliance rates for SA Health and for each LHN; this infographic is updated annually.
The national and state hand hygiene target is 80%.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) My Hospital website also provides safety and quality information for local hospitals, including hand hygiene compliance rates.
The ACSQHC NHHI hosts a suite of online eLearning modules (including hand hygiene) to provide information on the principles of infection prevention and control in the Australian healthcare setting. These modules are suitable for healthcare workers, student healthcare workers and for other industries where infection prevention and control is important, including residential care facilities and in the community.
The Basics of Infection Prevention and Control module provides a basic orientation and foundation on which to build infection prevention and control knowledge.
Infection prevention courses are available to all SA Health employees to support the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. There are currently three infection prevention related courses available to staff:
For further information, visit the Infection control education and training page.
The ACSQHC has developed new hand hygiene auditor training pathways for Hand Hygiene Auditors (previously called General Auditors) and Hand Hygiene Auditor Educators (previously called Gold Standard Auditors). For further information, visit the ACSQHC NHHI Auditor training and validation webpage.
Hand hygiene auditors are selected, trained, validated and supported according to requirements as per the NHHI and 5 moments of Hand Hygiene to ensure consistent data collection and reporting.
The NHHI has a number of audit tools available to support hand hygiene auditing in acute and non-acute settings.
Facilities not meeting the requirements for national data submission may choose to utilise the SA Health Hand hygiene observation audit tool (PDF 196KB) to estimate overall hand hygiene compliance and is in keeping with the 5 Moments for hand hygiene.
The SA Health Hand hygiene competency tool (PDF) 87KB) has been developed to assess staff competency in carrying out an effective hand hygiene rub or handwash.
Healthcare facilities can track their progress through the use of hand hygiene resources, promotional activities, planning their actions and aiming for improvement and sustainability through the use of the following resources:
For information regarding the use and selection of alcohol-based hand rubs, refer to thor information regarding the use and selection of alcohol-based hand rubs, refer to the Nation National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Health Care.
The following fact sheets have general information on the appropriate use of gloves in healthcare.
Click on the below images to download the relevant poster.
The ACSQHC has a range of promotional materials to support the improvement of hand hygiene in Australia.
World Hand Hygiene Day, 5 May, is part of a major global effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and supported by SA Health annually. This day aims to support health-care workers to improve hand hygiene in healthcare and accordingly support the prevention of life-threatening healthcare associated infection (HAI). This year’s theme is to accelerate action together and save lives by cleaning your hands.