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Hand hygiene key to reduction in HAIs

Recent research, conducted by the DaRo Group, has highlighted the major role that improved hand hygiene practices have played in the decline in healthcare associated infections (HAIs).

The research included engagement with a number of leading infection control experts, and the analysis of statistics provided by key industry organisations including the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The NPSA launched a UK campaign in 2004 with the aim of improving hand hygiene amongst healthcare staff. Since the introduction of the Clean Your Hands Campaign, HPA figures show that healthcare associated infections including MRSA have fallen drastically. Between April 2004 and March 2010 MRSA rates in hospitals across England fell 73.8%, from 7,233 to 1,898.

Infection control experts have understood the importance of hand hygiene for many years and it is now widely agreed amongst health experts across Europe and America that improved hand hygiene plays a significant role in the reduction of HAIs

NHS and World Health Organization guidelines recommend washing hands for 20-30 seconds to significantly reduce the risk of cross contamination, thus reducing the risk to patients of becoming exposed to infections. Healthcare professionals should clean their hands before touching a patient, before a medical procedure, after being exposed to a patient’s body or body fluids, after touching a patient and after touching a patient’s surroundings.

Clear correlation between hand hygiene and a reduction in HAIs is a key milestone in infection control and prevention, however with standards varying from region to region, and micro-organisms developing and becoming more sophisticated it is vital to continue to highlight the importance of hand hygiene and to further improve this universally.

View ASP’s range of hand hygiene solutions

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(Story adapted from healthcare digital)

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