National Hand Hygiene Initiative
Effective hand hygiene is a fundamental infection prevention and control strategy. Performing hand hygiene as part of patient care can prevent the spread of disease and contamination of the healthcare environment.
The Commission established the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) in 2008 as part of a suite of initiatives to prevent and reduce healthcare-associated infections in Australian healthcare settings. The National Safety and Quality Health Services (NSQHS) Standards require health service organisations to have a hand hygiene program consistent with the NHHI and jurisdictional requirements.
The NHHI uses a multimodal approach to improving hand hygiene. Implementation of the NHHI is led by states, territories and health service organisations (public and private), and includes:
- The use alcohol-based hand rub at the point-of-care
- Ensuring uniform hand hygiene and infection prevention and control education
- Monitoring hand hygiene compliance and performance feedback
- Using hand hygiene programs that ensure culture change
Hand hygiene and healthcare professionals in Australia
Effective hand hygiene is essential for infection prevention and control and patient and healthcare worker safety. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care works to support healthcare organisations, healthcare workers and student healthcare workers in implementing the NHHI.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) have issued a joint statement on the importance of hand hygiene by medical practitioners for patient safety. The joint statement promotes engagement with medical practitioners, and highlights the importance of hand hygiene for both medical practitioners and student doctors.
Implementation of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative
The Commission has developed a range of resources to support healthcare workers and health organisations in implementing the NHHI into practice:
- NHHI Learning Management System (LMS)
The NHHI LMS hosts a suite of online learning modules on hand hygiene and infection prevention and control. These modules are suitable for healthcare workers, student healthcare workers and for other industries where infection prevention and control is important.
- Statement from the CPMC and the ACSQHC - Hand Hygiene Compliance and Medical Practitioners
This position statement promotes engagement with medical practitioners, and strengthens the importance of hand hygiene for both medical practitioners and student doctors.
- Hand hygiene auditing
There are a number of tools available to support hand hygiene auditing in acute and non-acute healthcare settings.
- National Hand Hygiene Initiative Manual
The NHHI manual includes information on all aspects of the NHHI and a practical step-by-step guide to implementing and sustaining hand hygiene programs in Australian healthcare facilities.
- Promotional materials
A range of promotional materials is available to support implementation of the NHHI, including consumer resources.
- National audit data
Data on hand hygiene compliance are collected by states and territories for all public health organisations, and by many private health organisations, and reported nationally three times per year for the NHHI.
- Auditor training and validation
Information on general auditor and gold standard training.
- NHHI - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Responses have been prepared to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to support auditing and other aspects of implementation of the NHHI.
- NHHI LMS - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs to support learners and organisations in using the NHHI Learning Management System.
- NHHI HHCApp - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs to support auditors and organisations in using the NHHI HHCApp.
- NHHI Help Desk
The NHHI Help Desk supports users of the NHHI LMS and HHCApp and operates between 10am and 2pm on business days.