10 Patient Safety Tools on Hand Hygiene: Global Handwashing Day

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Tuesday, Oct. 15 is Global Handwashing Day. Hand washing, while essential to infection control and prevention, suffers from perennially low compliance rates, sometimes as low as 40 percent in healthcare settings, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Celebrate improving hand hygiene today and all year round with a variety of hand hygiene resources available for download for use in your facility.

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1. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare. The World Health Organization report contains information on healthcare-associated infections, models of transmission by hands, a review of methods for hand hygiene, recommended methods for hand hygiene, behavioral considerations for improving hand hygiene compliance and a review of potential barriers to hand hygiene.

Download the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare.

2. CDC Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force in 2002. This is still the most current source of recommendations.  

Download the CDC Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings.

3. Joint Commission - Measuring Hand Hygiene Adherence: Overcoming the Challenges. The Joint Commission offers a comprehensive monograph on measuring hand hygiene compliance. The 10-chaper work covers foundations for hand hygiene measurement, developing measurements strategies, observing adherence to hand hygiene guidelines, measuring product use, conducting surveys, assessing the thoroughness of hand hygiene and related aspects, international hand hygiene improvement tools and efforts, displaying and interpreting hand hygiene data for maximum effectiveness, factors contributing to hand hygiene improvement and resources for measurement and improvement.

Download Measuring Hand Hygiene Adherence: Overcoming the Challenges here. 

*4. "How to Hand Wash" Poster. The WHO offers a poster detailing hand washing protocol, complete with diagrams.  

Download How to Hand Wash poster.

*5. How to Hand Rub Poster. The WHO offers a poster detailing hand sanitizing protocol with alcohol-based sanitizer, complete with diagrams.

Download How to Hand Rub poster.

6. "Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands" Poster. The CDC offers a hand hygiene reminder poster modeled after the British World War II motivational slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On" for reminding people in healthcare facilities to wash their hands.

Download the "Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands" poster.

7. "1,000,000,000,000 germs can live in one gram of poop" Poster. The CDC offers a hand reminder hygiene poster for reminding people to wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Download the "1,000,000,000,000 germs can live in one gram of poop" poster.

*8. CDC Hand Hygiene Resource Web Page. The CDC offers complimentary interactive hand hygiene education and training, presented as a slide show, covering standard precautions, the importance of standard precautions, the importance of hand hygiene, concerns surrounding standard precautions and provider hand hygiene practices.

Launch and download the CDC Hand Hygiene Resource Web Page.

*9. iScrub app. The Iowa City-based University of Iowa's computational epidemiology group offers an app for iPhone and iPod Touch for tracking hand hygiene compliance. The app, iScrub, allows providers to record their observations and emails them the values for filing purposes.

Navigate to the iScrub page to download the app on the Apple iTunes store free of charge.

*10. Educational Rap: Get Your Bubbleez On. Pendleton, Ore.-based St. Anthony Hospital has created an exciting and engaging music video about the importance of hand washing in healthcare entitled "Get Your Bubbleez On."

View the video on YouTube.

*Note: Resources denoted by an asterisk have been featured previously on Becker's Hospital Review. Access them, as well as other patient safety tools, at our database.

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