5 Moments of Hand Hygiene Explained For Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers are handwashing warriors, sometimes washing their hands over 100 times in a 12-hour shift, or at least they should be. Studies have found that nurses only complied with handwashing procedures 42% of the time and physicians only 38% of the time. While hand hygiene is a crucial aspect of all businesses (now considered part of their corporate social responsibility), its importance is elevated in the healthcare world due to the high possibility of dangerous pathogen transmission. Handwashing is the best defense against the spread of disease and is critical to maintaining the safety of the facility, patients, visitors, and staff. The majority of the responsibility to maintain proper hand hygiene falls on healthcare staff as they proceed through and interact within so many different critical areas in the facility.
Throughout the day, healthcare workers need to perform hand hygiene events countless times for a myriad of reasons. It’s hard to keep track of each of the specific instances in which a hand wash is needed. In an effort to make these times easier to remember The World Health Organization defined the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene. The 5 moments of hand hygiene explain when a healthcare worker needs to be washing up in order to maintain the utmost health and safety for everyone in their facility.
- Before touching a patient (39% Compliance)
As a healthcare worker enters a patient’s room a hand hygiene event is necessary to wash away any pathogens potentially picked up from previous tasks or activities. Even if they do not need to touch the patient they may come in contact with items the patient later touches, potentially passing on dangerous germs.
- Before clean/aseptic procedures (63% Compliance)
Conducting tests, drawing blood, giving someone an IV, prepping for surgery, etc. all require an additional hand hygiene event prior to performing the task. At this moment patients are particularly susceptible to harmful pathogens so it’s imperative to have a high-quality hand hygiene event.
- After bodily fluid exposure/risk (65% Compliance)
Healthcare workers often come in contact with patients boldly fluids like blood, saliva, urine, and fecal matter. Hand hygiene needs to happen after this type of contact to protect both the patient and the staff.
- After touching a patient (76% Compliance)
After the healthcare worker has interacted with a patient a hand hygiene event must be performed. The patient being cared for may be carrying a pathogen that can put staff, visitors, and other patients at risk.
- After touching patient surroundings (36.5% Compliance)
Even if the healthcare worker did not spend any time physically coming in contact with the patient directly there is still a risk of cross-contamination. It’s important for healthcare workers to remember to wash their hands every time they have come in contact with the patients surrounding to preserve the health and safety of the remainder of the facility.
Staff remembering these “5 Moments of Hand Hygiene” is pivotal in the overall health and safety of a healthcare facility. And washing your hands at each of these instances takes a massive amount of time. In an effort to give some of this time back to nurses and doctors the use of instant hand sanitizers is leveraged frequently in their field. While the time savings are valuable, hand sanitizers can be detrimental to skin health. At Meritech we understand one of the greatest values our CleanTech® Fully Automated Handwashing Stations offer is the time savings without compromising efficacy and promoting healthy skin. CleanTech® can help healthcare workers follow the 5 Moments of hand hygiene outlined above while saving time and protecting one of their most important assets, their hands.