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CPSI Share                                                
6/16/2014 6:00 PM

​​Sharing results of the Canadian Hand Hygiene Audit

The Canadian Hand Hygiene Audit was held during the month of April 2014, to gain a national perspective on hand hygiene. Results from the audit show that the national compliance rate for hand hygiene is 78.3 per cent.

The Canadian Hand Hygiene Audit observed hand hygiene practices (rub, wash, or miss) for all four moments of hand hygiene in acute care, long term care and home care, and for all healthcare provider categories.  The Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s online data collection tool Patient Safety Metrics was used to collect and analyze the data for the audit.

Data was collected from 64 sites, with 17,166 opportunities from 207 areas analyzed from acute care (84 per cent), long term care (15 per cent) and home care (one per cent) settings. The number of observed hand hygiene opportunities that were submitted by province included: Alberta (2,647), British Columbia (346), Manitoba (1,116), New Brunswick (2,036), Nova Scotia (1,516), Nunavet (92), Ontario (7,228), Quebec (2,130) and Saskatchewan (56).

 “Although the overall number of healthcare organizations who participated in the audit is disappointing, a benchmark has been established that can be used to compare trends over time,” says Jim Gauthier, Past President, Community and Hospital Infection Control Association Canada (CHICA – Canada). “Observations for Moments 2 and 3 (before aseptic procedure and after body fluid exposure risk)are more difficult to collect as the observer has to enter the bed space of the patient during a patient encounter, therefore the majority of the observations provided for the audit focused on Moments 1 and 4 (prior to and after patient/patient environment contact).” The individual compliance rate for Moment 1 was 69 per cent and for Moment 4, 79 per cent.

Jim Gauthier discussed findings from the Canadian Hand Hygiene Audit during a webinar on May 20, 2014. Click here to listen to the archived webinar and access the presentation.

During the webinar, a number of practical suggestions for improving hand hygiene compliance were discussed. Jim Gauthier reinforces that the culture of a healthcare organization has an affect hand hygiene practices and auditing.  “It is almost like a Hawthorne effect, when people know that they are being observed they will change their behavior,” says Jim Gauthier. “There is no magic number to reach as an acceptable compliance rate. It is important to use teachable moments to improve hand hygiene practices every time you observe commonly missed opportunities, and to involve patients in your hand hygiene programs.” 

The Canadian Hand Hygiene Audit was held as a part of STOP Clean Your Hands Day: 2014, a joint initiative of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Accreditation Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC).