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Hand Hygiene Long Term Care LTX

The Importance of Hand Hygiene in Long-Term Care

Megan DiGiorgio

6/8/2015


By Megan J. DiGiorgio, MSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC


Clinical Specialist, GOJO Industries

According to the CDC, one to three million serious infections, which include antibiotic-resistant staph infections and diarrheal diseases, occur every year in a long-term care facility.1 The CDC also reports that as many as 380,000 people die each year from infections contracted while in a long-term care facility.2 So what can be done to decrease these types of infections?

Hand hygiene is the most crucial measure to prevent the transmission of healthcare-acquired infections.3 In fact, a nearly three-year study showed that the use of PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer reduced the infection rates in a 275-bed, 265-employee extended-care facility by 30.4%.4 Yet, with proper hand hygiene compliance at less than 50%,5  how do you ensure that hand hygiene is being practiced at your long-term care facility?

The GOJO Five Rights of Hand Hygiene were created to simplify the messaging around hand hygiene compliance for healthcare workers.

  • First, the Right Product must be used. Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) should be used in the majority of situations, unless hands are visibly dirty or contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids, in which case soap and water is warranted.
  • The Right Amount of product is also critically important. Just like taking half of the prescribed dose of a medication will not give you the full intended benefits, using only half of the necessary volume of ABHR will not adequately sanitize your hands and give you the right amount of germ kill.
  • The Right Time and Technique are needed in order to ensure that there is enough contact time between the product and your hands, and that you are adequately covering all surfaces of your hands.
  • The Right Moments extend beyond room entry and exit. You should perform hand hygiene before contact with residents, before an aseptic task, after a body fluid exposure risk, after resident contact, and after contact with the resident’s surroundings.
  • Lastly, the Right People need to perform hand hygiene. Much of the focus around hand hygiene compliance has centered on healthcare workers, but residents, families and visitors should perform hand hygiene as well.

By remembering the Five Rights of Hand Hygiene, we can work to increase hand hygiene compliance and reduce the number of healthcare-acquired infections.

[1] Nursing Homes and Assisted Living (Long-term Care Facilities [LTCFs]). Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/
[2] Nursing Homes and Assisted Living (Long-term Care Facilities [LTCFs]). Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/
[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings: recommendations of the healthcare infection control practices advisory committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA hand hygiene task force. MMWR 2002;51:RR-16. [4] E.J. Fendler, Y.Ali, B.S. Hammond, et al; The impact of alcohol hand sanitizer use on infection rates in an extended care facility; American Journal of Infection Control; June 2002.
[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings: recommendations of the healthcare infection control practices advisory committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA hand hygiene task force. MMWR 2002;51:RR-16.

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