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Hand hygiene improvement strategies: US vs UK

Gerry Lacey discusses the changes in emphasis that are being driven in the US by the Leapfrog Group Hand Hygiene Standard and the lessons that can be learned in the UK

Hand hygiene compliance is not just an issue in the UK, but worldwide, with compliance rates as low as 6%-14% when both the World Health Organization (WHO) Five Moments and Six-Step Hand Hygiene Technique are assessed. Hand hygiene strategies in both the UK and the US share many similarities due to the universal importance of infection control in healthcare. However, there are some differences, with significant recent developments in the US in terms of their regulations/standards, hand hygiene initiatives, how they monitor hand hygiene, and the commitment and buy-in from senior management. Healthcare facilities need support from the top to improve hand hygiene compliance rates. This is the only way that lasting change will happen. This article will describe hand hygiene improvement strategies in the US, and how this compares to strategies in the UK.

Hand hygiene worldwide stats

Hand hygiene compliance is a worldwide concern, and various scientific studies assess the extent of the problem, its consequences, and potential solutions. To measure hand hygiene effectiveness, we must examine both “the when” and “the how” i.e. performed at one of the ‘Five Moments’ and using the WHO Hand Hygiene Technique. The true compliance rate is when hand hygiene has taken place at the right time and performed correctly. Currently, compliance with the ‘Five Moments’ is as low as 40%. 1 However, for the quality of hand hygiene compliance is much lower at 8-15% 2,3,4

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Upcoming Events

Infection Prevention & Control

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
23rd - 24th April 2024

ESGE Days 2024, Symposium – ‘Elevating Endoscopy: Inspiring Progress and Innovation’

Estrel Congress Center (room 15), Berlin, Germany
25th April 2024, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST

National DERS and SMART pump conference

BCEC, Birmingham
29th April 2024

Theatres & Decontamination Conference 2024

Coventry Building Society Arena
16th May 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Birmingham

Millennium Point, Birmingham
18th May 2024

BAUN Summer Educational Event – Essential Urology Skills

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter
6th June 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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