Why Are the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene Important?
The Best Prevention Against HAIs and Nosocomial Infections
Nosocomial infection prevention is always at top of mind for healthcare providers. Fortunately, It doesn't take extreme measures to avoid these types of HAIs (healthcare-associated infections). By simply following the "5 Moments of Hand Hygiene", hospitals and other healthcare facilities can drastically reduce the risk of these infections with proper hand hygiene.
The 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene are Best for Nosocomial Infection Prevention
The World Health Organization has specified crucial steps throughout the process of providing medical care for patients at healthcare facilities regarding handwashing. Handwashing is the best defense against the spread of disease and infection, especially nosocomial infections or HAIs (healthcare-associated infections). Most 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, so it’s important that they follow the 5 moments of hand hygiene.
These 5 moments of hand hygiene outline when exactly hygiene events should be taking place to ensure that the health and safety of both healthcare providers and their patients are maintained.
1. Before touching a patient
2. Before clean/aseptic procedures
3. After bodily fluid exposure/risk
4. After touching a patient
5. After touching patient surroundings
Improves Handwashing Compliance in Healthcare
The 5 moments of hand hygiene are specific hand wash times following specific actions that are taking place in a healthcare facility. These actions may be taking place before, during, or after a medical procedure or interaction with a patient.
At first glance, these may seem like obvious times for handwashing. However, studies have found that nurses only complied with handwashing procedures 42% of the time and physicians only 38% of the time. There remains the need for medical professionals to be reminded of these 5 moments of hand hygiene to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens in these environments.
Keeps Hand Hygiene Top of Mind
Communicating these 5 moments of hand hygiene to staff throughout the facility is pivotal to making sure that proper handwashing procedures are being followed. Having regular reminders in staff emails as well as during staff meetings will help to keep hand hygiene at the top of mind for your coworkers. Signage that communicates these 5 moments of hand hygiene will also serve as daily reminders of the proper hand wash times and can also make patients feel more at ease that their healthcare providers are making hand hygiene a priority.
Protects Skin Health from Overuse of Hand Sanitizers in Healthcare
Not only is handwashing the best for infection prevention, but also is better for skin health compared to hand sanitizers. Many facilities employ the use of hand sanitizers to cut down on handwashing times for their staff. While this may seem like an advantageous strategy, hand sanitizers in healthcare have been shown to be detrimental to skin health. Many hand sanitizers contain alcohol which can dry out the skin, leaving cracks and other entry points for harmful pathogens to reside.
Skin health is paramount in maintaining effective pathogen removal for hands and is often overlooked when comparing different hand hygiene methods. One drawback to even frequent manual handwashing is the fact that consistent scrubbing of the hands can lead to skin damage over time. Therefore, some healthcare facilities employ the use of CleanTech® Automated Handwashing Systems since there is no scrubbing involved during the automatic hand washes and the hygiene solution used in the systems is UltraPure, which contains synthetic lanolin which helps moisturize hands and ensure overall skin health.
Why Automated Hygiene is Best for the 5 moments of Hand Hygiene
Facilities that use CleanTech® Automated Handwashing Stations have shown that they’re able to cut down on their overall handwashing time without compromising pathogen removal or hand health. 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.