National Hand Hygiene Initiative

Hand hygiene is a high priority for the prevention of healthcare-associated infection worldwide, as it is the single most effective intervention for preventing infection.

The National Hand Hygiene Initiative was established by the Commission in 2008 to develop a national hand hygiene culture-change program that standardised hand hygiene practice and placement of alcohol-based hand rub in every Australian hospital.

The National Hand Hygiene Initiative has produced:

  1. Australian hand hygiene guidelines adapted from the World Health Organization World Alliance for Patient Safety "Clean Care is Safer Care" Program
  2. A national education strategy based on the Australian hand hygiene guidelines
  3. Outcome measures for auditing across all healthcare settings
  4. Guidelines and audit tools based on the outcome measures
  5. Education materials to support the hand hygiene audit tools
  6. A mechanism for the electronic collection of outcomes data and information transfer.

The National Hand Hygiene Initiative is coordinated and supported by Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA) under a contract between the Commission and Austin Health.  

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards

Action 3.8 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard requires health service organisations to have a hand hygiene program that is:

  1. Consistent with the current National Hand Hygiene Initiative and jurisdictional requirements
  2. Addresses non-compliance or inconsistency with the current National Hand Hygiene Initiative.

Australian Guidelines for the Control of Infection in Healthcare

These Guidelines aim to promote and facilitate infection prevention and control through the creation of safe healthcare environments and the implementation of practices, including hand hygiene, that minimise the risk of transmission of infectious agents

Hand hygiene online learning modules

The hand hygiene online learning modules are designed for health service organisations to use as part of their orientation program for healthcare workers. These modules provide education on hand hygiene and, more broadly, the principles of infection prevention and control.

Registered users can complete as much of each module as is relevant to them, and modules can be repeated. A certificate of completion is available for registered users.

Hand hygiene resources

A suite of resources has been developed to support local implementation of programs to improve hand hygiene. This information, which is available on the Hand Hygiene Australia website, includes: