Doctor, do you have a moment? National Hand Hygiene Initiative compliance in Australian hospitals
Hand hygiene is accepted as the cornerstone of preventing infection. Thus, the maxim “first do no harm”1 should translate into the habitual practice of hand hygiene by health care workers (HCWs). In 2009, under the National Hand Hygiene Initiative,2 Australian hospitals embarked on a hand hygiene program developed around the World Health Organization program, Five Moments for Hand Hygiene.3 The “five moments” refer to the five indications for hand hygiene associated with interactions between HCWs, patients and the environment around patients. The moments are summarised in Box 1.
From 2010, mandatory quarterly reports of rates of compliance with the Five Moments program became embedded as a measure of patient safety for all Australian public hospitals. Another measure of patient safety is the rate of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection (SABSI). These two rates are considered to be causally linked and are reported on the MyHospitals website4 for public scrutiny.2 Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA) reported the program a success with improvements in hand hygiene and reductions in the rate of methicillin-resistant SABSI.2 When we examined the HHA website (