The prevalence of nosocomial infections in healthcare facilities, e.g. due to antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, facilities is assuming alarming proportions worldwide. The consequences include human suffering, longer hospital stays, expensive medications and a drain on the economy. Hygienic hand disinfection is fundamental to overcoming these challenges. Yet on average, only every other hand disinfection is actually carried out. So how can compliance be improved?
HANDS: THE NO. 1 FACTOR IN THE CHAIN OF TRANSMISSION
Experts estimate that up to 90 percent of all hospital-acquired infections are transmitted by hands. One third of these is considered to be avoidable*. This makes hand disinfection the most important practice in protecting patients and staff from pathogens that can cause diseases.
A study attempted to promote hand hygiene by implementing a hospital-wide programme with special emphasis on bedside, alcohol-based hand disinfection during routine patient care**. It found that the promotion of bedside, antiseptic hand rubs like Sterillium® largely contributed to an increase in compliance and coincided with a reduction of nosocomial infections and MRSA transmission.
* Source: The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS): EARSS Annual Report 2008, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven
**Source: THE LANCET 2000, 356: 1307 – 1312
WORKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION
THE SIX GOLDEN RULES TO IMPROVE COMPLIANCE IN HAND HYGIENE*
1. Select an alcohol-based hand rub which has a good skin tolerance and is acceptable to healthcare workers to use.
2. The hand rub shall be easily available. Dosing dispensers shall be placed at "points of care" and next to patients, increasing willingness to disinfect hands and thus patient safety.
3. Implement teaching and promotion of hand hygiene, which has been shown to be very effective. This shall include recognition of WHO's "My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" model to help recognise key situations involving a risk of pathogen transmission.
4. Create a hospital budget that covers all costs involved with preventable nosocomial infection. Combine it with the budget for hand hygiene products.
5. Get senior staff to set a good example in order to motivate junior staff.
6. Have the patient/staff ratio well balanced. It has been shown that staff shortage decreases hand hygiene compliance.
*Source: Journal of Hospital Infection 2004, 56: 3-5 (modified)
As one part of the HARTMANN Hand Hygiene System, Sterillium® makes a key contribution to modern day hand hygiene – with hand disinfectant products designated to virtually every clinical situation and user need.
As well as addressing issues such as the availability of dosing dispensers, hospital budget considerations and general teaching about hand hygiene, one crucial aspect is seizing the right hand disinfection moment. After all, hygienic hand disinfection is only truly effective when performed in precisely those situations involving a risk of pathogen transmission.