As of April 30, 2009, all Ontario hospitals are required to annually post their hand hygiene compliance rates to further promote accountability and transparency within the health system.
Hand hygiene is an important practice for health-care providers but also involves everyone in the hospital, including patients, families and visitors.
Effective hand hygiene practices in hospitals play a key role in preventing the spread of health care-associated infections.
Hand hygiene compliance is calculated by taking the number of times that hand hygiene was performed before initial patient /patient environment contact and after patient /patient environment contact and is divided by the number of observed hand hygiene indications for that specific indication. The results are then multiplied by 100. This calculation represents the percentage compliance rate for hand hygiene.
Hospitals are to collect at least 200 observations for every 100 inpatient beds.
Lake of the Woods District Hospital has implemented the provincial Just Clean Your Hands campaign. It is important to note that Lake of the Woods District Hospital was involved in the pilot of this significant program.
The collection and public reporting of these rates will allow hospitals to establish a baseline from which to track their hand hygiene improvement over time. Hospitals will use this information to identify areas for improvement and strategies for reducing the incidence of health-care-associated infections.
Why is hand hygiene so important?
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.
What is hand hygiene?
Hand hygiene relates to the removal of visible soil and the removal or killing of transient microorganisms from the hands and may be accomplished using soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Why is hand hygiene compliance one of the publicly reported indicators?
The single most common transmission of health care-associated infections (HAIs) in a health care setting is via transiently colonized hands of health care workers who acquire it from contact with colonized or infected patients, or after handling contaminated material or equipment. Monitoring hand hygiene practices and the provision of timely feedback are vital to improving compliance and, in turn, reducing HAIs.
What will be publicly reported for Hand Hygiene?
Each hospital is required to submit compliance data to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ministry) on all four indications for hand hygiene. Hospitals are required to post, by site, the percent compliance rates for each period end date on their corporate websites. Hospitals will post the compliance rate for:
(i) hand hygiene before initial patient/patient environment contact by combined health care provider type
(ii) hand hygiene after patient/patient environment contact by combined health care provider type
The Ministry will also report the above data, by hospital site, on its website (www.ontario.ca/patientsafety).
How are the hand hygiene compliance rates calculated?
Hospitals will calculate the percent compliance for each of the four indications of hand hygiene as follows:
# of times hand hygiene performed before initial patient/patient environment contact x 100
# observed hand hygiene indications for before initial patient/patient environment contact
# of times hand hygiene performed before aseptic procedure x 100
# observed hand hygiene indications for before aseptic procedure
# of times hand hygiene performed after body fluid exposure risk x 100
# observed hand hygiene indications for after body fluid exposure risk
# of times hand hygiene performed after patient/patient environment contact x 100
# observed hand hygiene indications for after patient/patient environment contact
The Lake of the Woods District Hospital takes patient safety very seriously and this involves ensuring that patients are not at risk for contracting healthcare-associated infections.
We have a number of practices in place to help prevent and control infections, including a comprehensive hand hygiene program.
If you have any questions about this information or about our hospital’s infection prevention and control program, please contact the Infection Prevention and Control Office at 468-9861 ext. 362.
What are health care-associated infections?
Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called health care-associated infections.
How will the public reporting of hand hygiene compliance affect compliance among health care professionals?
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.
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.
More patient-specific information is available at www.ontario.ca/patientsafety and www.oha.com/patientsafetytips.