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5/4/2018 2:00 AM

Canadian Patient Safety Institute brings the global STOP! Clean Your Hands Day to Canada

Thousands of healthcare providers in hundreds of healthcare sites across Canada and around the world will participate in today's STOP! Clean Your Hands Day.

It is led by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), in conjunction with the World Health Organization's SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign. The Canadian program is a partnership with Infection Prevention and Control Canada, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, Public Health Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Thanks to GOJO Canada for their sponsorship of STOP! Clean Your Hands Day.

The theme for this year's campaign is "Clean your hands: The bug stops here!" Each year in Canada, 8,000 to 12,000 patients die from complications of healthcare-associated infections. Through the simple act of promoting optimal hand hygiene, people across the country will help to reduce that number.

"Hand hygiene is the simplest and most effective way to reduce and prevent infections," says The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Federal Minister of Health. "We should all be working together to encourage and promote hand hygiene, including patients, caregivers and health care providers. Washing your hands not only prevents you from getting sick, but also reduces the risk of infecting others."

CPSI Chair Dr. Brian Wheelock helps Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor clean her hands, preventing infections and saving lives, on STOP! Clean Your Hands Day.

This important message will be reinforced in three major ways today:

  • Healthcare providers, administrators and patients will take pictures of themselves cleaning their hands. They will share these images on social media using the hashtags #STOPCleanYourHandsDay and #thebugstopshere. Their pictures not only enter them to win prizes but also pledge a commitment to hand hygiene today and every day of the year!
  • Hundreds of healthcare providers and advocates will tune in to a webinar, hosted by CPSI, that begins at 12 noon ET/10 am MT. The webinar will feature Lori Moore, a Healthcare Clinical Educator with GOJO, addressing hand hygiene uptake in healthcare settings. She will join Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi of the World Health Organization's Infection Prevention and Control Global Unit, who will share her experience with preventing sepsis in healthcare settings.
  • Finally, at healthcare sites across the country, STOP! Clean Your Hands Day activities, stickers and messaging will be shared with visitors.

"By taking part in STOP! Clean Your Hands Day, we are joining thousands of healthcare providers, leaders, and patients around the world," says CPSI Chair Dr. Brian Wheelock. "We all share the belief that every patient experience should be safe, and that preventing harm is worth the effort. Even an action as simple as cleaning your hands can save a life. Today, we say #thebugstopshere."

#thebugstopshere with Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, CPSI Chair Dr. Brian Wheelock and Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

Important facts on hand hygiene:

  • Every year 220,000 Canadian patients (approximately one in nine) will develop a hospital-associated infection during their stay in hospital, and an estimated 8,000 of those patients will lose their lives. Furthermore, the cost to treat hospital-acquired infection is estimated to be more than $100 million annually.
  • In the acute care setting, infections will be the biggest driver of patient safety incidents, accounting for roughly 70,000 patient safety incidents per year on average – generating an additional $480 million per year on average in healthcare costs.
  • Hand hygiene is important all year round, not just on STOP! Clean Your Hands Day. Canada's Hand Hygiene Challenge supports organizations in their efforts to improve hand hygiene:, is packed with tools, information, and resources to reduce the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections.

"During my work in managing infectious disease outbreaks internationally, ensuring good hospital infection control practices is a critical component of the response" says Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. "The simple step of regular, thorough hand washing by health and other care providers can have a powerful impact on limiting the spread of infections and on the recovery of patients. This lesson is equally important in Canada's health care facilities."

About Canadian Patient Safety Institute

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety. CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve. CPSI would like to acknowledge funding support from Health Canada. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

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