Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) impact on the safety and quality of healthcare in all settings. Due to the lack of a comprehensive national HAI surveillance system, there are no recent or exact figures on HAIs in Australia, however older estimates range from 175,000-200,000 events annually. Increased hand hygiene compliance has been demonstrated to reduce HAI-related morbidity and mortality.

Consequently, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare nominated HAI as a national priority area for action, and the implementation of effective, evidence-based hand hygiene practices as one of the strategies to achieve a reduction in HAIs.

ACIPC and ASID Recommend:

1. That healthcare worker curriculae should include the essential elements for effective hand hygiene, which include:

• The World Health Organization (WHO) 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene
• How to perform hand hygiene
• Safety issues relating to hand hygiene products
• Care of the hands

2. That facility executives and managers mandate that all healthcare workers complete either a national hand hygiene eLearning program (available from Hand Hygiene Australia or a suitable equivalent that complies with World Health Organization recommendations, upon employment at any healthcare facility and regularly thereafter.

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