Hand hygiene is an important practice for health care providers and has a significant impact on reducing the spread of infections in hospitals. Hand hygiene is a different way of thinking about safety and patient care and involves everyone in the hospital, including patients and health care providers. Effective hand hygiene practices in hospitals play a key role in improving patient and provider safety, and in preventing the spread of health care-associated infections.
The goal of public reporting hand hygiene compliance is to achieve an overall assessment of whether compliance rates are improving over time. It is normal for rates to vary from hospital to hospital. There are many factors that will improve hand hygiene compliance. Mandatory public reporting is one element. Certainly the increasing recent attention on the issue as well as the provincial government’s multifaceted hand hygiene program called Just Clean Your Hands are important to ensuring effective hand hygiene at the right times.
Ontario hospitals are posting their hand hygiene compliance rates as percentages for time periods identified by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, using the following formula:
# of times hand hygiene performed x 100
# of observed hand hygiene indications
These percentages also reflect:
(i) hand hygiene before initial patient/patient environment contact by combined health care provider type (e.g., nurses, allied health professionals, physicians, etc.)
(ii) hand hygiene after patient/patient environment contact by combined health care provider type (e.g., nurses, allied health professionals, physicians, etc.)
Hospitals are to collect at least 200 observations for every 100 in patient beds. At Stevenson, we have less than 50 inpatient beds and collect over 800 observations which exceeds the number that are mandatory to submit.
What can patients do to help improve their own safety?
Hand hygiene involves everyone in the hospital, including patients. Hand cleaning is one of the best ways you and your health care team can prevent the spread of many infections. Patients and their visitors should also practice good hand hygiene before and after entering patient rooms.