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Five tips to improve hand hygiene compliance

10 October 2018

Around 300,000 patients a year acquire a Healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) because of care within the NHS, and a patient who is admitted into hospital has a 6.4% chance of contracting a hospital infection.

To reduce the incidence of HCAIs across Healthcare settings, performing effective hand hygiene is critical. 

Deb is supporting International Infection Prevention Week (14th-20th October) which aims to raise awareness of the role that infection prevention plays in improving patient safety, with this year’s theme focusing on ‘Protecting Patients Everywhere’. 

In honour of International Infection Prevention Week, Deb shares five tips to improve hand hygiene compliance within healthcare facilities.


Healthcare workers must be provided with regular training on the importance of hand hygiene based on the WHO 5-Moments.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) 5-Moments of Hand Hygiene is the single most effective way to help prevent the spread of infection and defines the 5 key moments when healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene; before touching a patient, before clean/aseptic procedures, after body fluid exposure/risk, after touching a patient, and touching patient surroundings.

Following this procedure can deliver significant improvements in terms of hand hygiene compliance, helping embed good practice into our everyday working lives.

Invest in technology 

To effectively measure hand hygiene, every hospital is required to implement a program in accordance with the WHO and set goals for compliance improvement.

Electronic monitoring technology offers a way of reducing HCAIs whilst driving staff behaviour change. It is the most meaningful and appropriate tool to support hand hygiene compliance and measurement.


It is crucial to ensure staff are constantly reminded to perform hand hygiene. By placing posters in and around settings such as breakrooms, restrooms and other high-visibility locations, the message will be reinforced throughout the workplace.

Positive reinforcement 

Reinforcing positive messages and providing feedback on hand hygiene performance will create a positive culture and encourage staff to perform hand hygiene as and when it is needed.  

Track and share data 

Electronic monitoring systems provide powerful information that healthcare professionals can use to track real-time, accurate data to drive hand hygiene performance and behavioural change. 

By tracking and sharing data, healthcare settings can ensure the highest practice standard in hand hygiene compliance measurement. In turn, this will help healthcare providers drive down the incidence rate of HCAIs within their establishment.