As part of a major global effort to improve hand hygiene in health care led by the World Health Organisation, the GHA/ERS every year supports the ‘SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands’ campaign. This is an annual global campaign which was launched in 2009, with subsequent campaigns each year thereafter aiming to progress the goal of maintaining a global profile on the importance of hand hygiene in health care and to ‘bring people together’ in support of hand hygiene. This event happens annually on the 5th May.
Infection Prevention and Control measures, including hand hygiene, are critical in healthcare, as it lends to a practical and evidence-based approach to prevent healthcare acquired infections across all levels of the healthcare system. This in turn improves the quality of care and safety to our patients and the public.
Hand Hygiene is one of the most effective actions used in healthcare to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Hand hygiene is particularly important for Healthcare Professionals such as nurses, doctors, allied healthcare professionals and healthcare assistants who regularly come into close contact with patients.
This year's theme for World Hand Hygiene Day, 5 May 2022, is focused on recognizing that we can all add to a facility's climate or culture of safety and quality through cleaning our hands. But also that a strong quality and safety culture will also encourage people to clean hands at the right times by providing them with the right products to do this. The GHA slogan this year is “It’s OK to ask if I have washed my hands”.
In preparation for the 5th May, the Infection Prevention & Control team have been auditing hand hygiene facilities within the GHA/ERS such as hand hygiene sinks, hand gels etc. They have also been monitoring staffs practice, through observational hand washing audits and hand inspections ensuring staff are adhering to ‘bare below the elbow’ policy.
On the day, the Infection Prevention and Control team will be performing hand hygiene spot checks - checking hands under ultraviolet light, in various areas of the GHA/ERS, handing out stickers to those who perform the correct hand hygiene technique. They have also challenged staff knowledge of multi-resistant organisms by posing a Quiz called ‘Bugs of the Month’, offering a prize to the top three correct answers.
The Director General, Patrick Geoghegan, said: 'The past few years have very clearly demonstrated the importance of hand hygiene. I am happy that the GHA will support this global effort. Clean hands save lives. It is also important to recognise that COVID-19 has not gone away and that one way in protecting our loved ones, vulnerable people and ourselves is to wash our hands.'