Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is a term referring to any action of hand cleansing which, when performed properly, results in a reduction of micro-organisms on hands. To prevent and manage healthcare-associated infection the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has nominated hand hygiene as an area of high priority for practice improvement by all healthcare workers.

St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital participates in the national hand hygiene strategy through Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA). This program is based on the consistent application of the ‘five moments’ for hand hygiene and involves either hand washing with soap and water or with an alcoholic hand sanitiser at the following times:
  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before a procedure
  3. After a procedure or body fluid exposure
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching a patient’s surroundings

Trained hand hygiene auditors regularly undertake observational audits to assist in the ongoing improvement in this important activity.

Hand Hygiene Compliance

Hand-Hygiene-Compliance data

This graph shows the percentage compliance of observed correct moments of hand washing. A higher percentage is better.

Data is submitted monthly to Hand Hygiene Australia for inclusion in a national database. Our hospital provides information on hand hygiene compliance to the National Health Performance Authority for publication on the My Hospitals web site.

What we are doing to improve Hand Hygiene compliance

  • Using information collected through observational audits to improve training of hospital staff
  • Providing regular hand hygiene competency assessment and education sessions for staff

How you can help

Hand washing is essential for controlling the spread of infection and for patient safety. You can reduce the risk of spreading infection by:

  • Observing hospital signage about hand hygiene. There are hand sanitisers throughout the hospital. If you are unable to find a hand sanitiser station, please ask staff for assistance
  • Washing your hands carefully with soap and water or using hand sanitiser upon entering and leaving the hospital
  • Washing your hands carefully with soap and water or using hand sanitiser when entering and leaving a patient’s room

To best protect everyone we recommend that you regularly use the available hand sanitiser while in the hospital.

To find out more about hand hygiene:
Visit Hand Hygiene Australia