The Daily Challenge
Preventing HAI’s by improving hand hygiene compliance
Preventing healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) is everyone’s responsibility - not only infection preventionists; medical, nursing and ancillary staff but also hospital leadership, administrators and patients, families & visitors.
It is estimated that the 1.7 million HAIs are responsible for 99,000 fatalities in the United States each year and the direct costs are believed to be as high as $45 billion. At least 20 percent of HAIs are preventable.
Hospitals, long term care facilities, clinics & other healthcare service providers emphasize hand hygiene (washing and sanitizing) as the primary way to prevent infection. However, low compliance and increased risk of infection occurs due to:
- Lack of availability of hand hygiene products at every point of care
- Dry, chapped and irritated skin
- Patient care priorities and emergencies
- Time constraints
- Belief by some healthcare workers that more evidence or proof is needed with regard to the impact of proper hand hygiene on HAI rates
1 Klevens, R., et al. 2002. Estimating Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals, 2002. Public Health Reports. March-April 2007. Volume 122, 160-166.
2 Scott, R 2009. The direct medical costs of healthcare-associated Infections in U.S. hospitals and the benefits of prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/Scott_CostPaper.pdf. Accessed February 15, 2011.