Healthcare Infection Healthcare Infection Society
Official Journal of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Characteristics of a successful hospital hand hygiene program: an Australian perspective

Joanne Brocket A and Ramon Z. Shaban B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A John Flynn Private Hospital, 42 Inland Drive, Tugun, Qld 4224, Australia.

B Menzies Health Institute Queensland, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Qld 4111, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: r.shaban@griffith.edu.au

Healthcare Infection 20(4) 101-107 https://doi.org/10.1071/HI15007
Submitted: 27 March 2015  Accepted: 22 July 2015   Published: 14 August 2015

Abstract

Introduction: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most common adverse health event affecting patients in hospital. Approximately 200 000 HAIs occur in Australian acute care facilities annually with an estimated annual cost of approximately $1 billion. They are largely preventable adverse events, which can be significantly reduced through the implementation of effective infection prevention and control programs and guidelines. Hand hygiene is well established as being fundamental in infection control programs for preventing and controlling HAIs. This paper will describe a successful hand hygiene program introduced into one Australian private hospital.

Methods: In 2009, a 323-bed, acute care facility implemented a program based on the Hand Hygiene Australia Hand Hygiene Culture Change Program. The aim of the program was to effect culture change using a structured multimodal approach, improving hand hygiene using the five elements of the World Health Organization (WHO) Multimodal Hand Hygiene Improvement Strategy.

Results: The program was successful at improving and maintaining hand hygiene compliance from 22% to 71% and this improvement was evidenced by an increase in the usage of alcohol-based handrub from 32 L per 10 000 bed days to 90 L, increases in the volumes of liquid soap used, a decrease in the bed days associated with surgical site infections, and a decrease in Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia bed days.

Conclusions: Culture change for improvements in hand hygiene is difficult to achieve but possible to achieve through a structured multimodal whole-of-organisation program approach.


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