Search control section

More than 500 beds
This hospital has an emergency department
This is a public hospital

The Alfred

Left hand navigation section

Safety & quality

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene in hospitals generally refers to the use of soap and water or other products (such as alcohol-based hand rub) by healthcare workers to clean their hands. The aim is for healthcare workers to perform hand hygiene correctly at every opportunity, for example, before and after touching a patient. Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to minimise the risk of healthcare-associated infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections.

The National Hand Hygiene InitiativeExternal link, opens in a new window.[http://www.hha.org.au] is being progressively implemented in Australian hospitals to improve hand hygiene. Hand hygiene in hospitals is measured through an audit process, in which trained observers watch for opportunities (called ‘moments’) when hand washing or cleaning ought to occur in order to ensure good infection control.

The national benchmark is for healthcare workers to clean their hands correctly in at least 70.0% of these ‘moments’ observed during an audit period at a hospital. A higher number of audited 'moments' will generate a more reliable compliance rate estimate. Methods will be developed to enable fair comparison of the estimated compliance rate with the national benchmark and with results achieved by other hospitals.

Hand hygiene rate

For Audit Period 2, ending June 2015, the estimated rate was 75.2% based on 1,885 hand hygiene ‘moments’.

Audit period Number of ‘moments’ Estimated rate National benchmark
Audit Period 2, ending June 2015 1,885 75.2% 70.0%
Audit Period 1, ending March 2015 1,829 77.6% 70.0%
Audit Period 3, ending October 2014 1,779 76.4% 70.0%
Audit Period 2, ending June 2014 1,813 78.9% 70.0%
Audit Period 1, ending March 2014 1,782 77.8% 70.0%
Audit Period 3, ending October 2013 1,787 69.8% 70.0%
Audit Period 2, ending June 2013 1,816 73.5% 70.0%
Audit Period 1, ending March 2013 1,779 73.0% 70.0%
Audit Period 3, ending October 2012 1,836 69.9% 70.0%
Audit Period 2, ending June 2012 1,776 75.1% 70.0%
Audit Period 1, ending March 2012 1,769 75.2% 70.0%
Audit Period 3, ending October 2011 1,759 76.3% 70.0%