Ultimately, hand hygiene culture needs to change and there needs to be a shift away from direct observation methods and a move towards rigorous monitoring and effective feedback to drive a change in behaviour.

“Only a fraction of the sector has

technological preventative measures in place to capture hand hygiene moments, and many are yet to

recognise that electronic systems are in place to help not hinder.”

MONITORING VS. OBSERVATION While the Healthcare sector will invest in the latest software and new facilities for testing and screening patients, only a fraction of the sector has technological preventative measures in place to capture hand hygiene moments, and many are yet to recognise that electronic systems are in place to help not hinder.

While direct observation was once seen as the ‘gold standard’, many studies have proven that this method is highly inaccurate and unreliable. To highlight this further, direct observation does not capture every single hand hygiene moment: it only captures a small percentage of all hand hygiene events that take place within a healthcare facility.

Recent research (conducted by DebMed) revealed that 98% of Trusts are using direct observation, with 95% of Trusts stating they tracked all of the 5 Moments (the key moments when Healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene) in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. Yet only 30% stated they felt direct observation to be a good approach to validate this important information.

Direct observation has caused hand hygiene compliance rates to be overstated by up to 300% (according to 2014 research, yet electronic hand hygiene systems are capable of recording and capturing 100% of data to deliver real-time results based on the WHO 5 Moments for hand hygiene. Thus, painting a truer picture of hand hygiene compliance, whilst also eliminating the Hawthorne effect (when people ‘perform’ because they know they are being observed).

Advances in electronic technology can be applied to hand hygiene monitoring, helping the healthcare industry adopt more reliable and accurate data collection and analysis methods in order to monitor hand hygiene compliance in real-time.

Electronic monitoring systems are a simple yet major breakthrough in Healthcare, which aim to improve hand hygiene compliance rates, and ultimately protect the people who matter the most, our patients. This method will ensure more precise hand hygiene compliance rates, and in turn, will help save lives through the reduction of HCAIs.

“Whilst hospitals have made

considerable progress in the fight against the spread of infection, there’s still more to be done to

achieve consistently robust levels of hand hygiene.”

RIGHT PRODUCTS, RIGHT TIME It is important that workers have access to hand hygiene and skincare products where and when they are needed, to provide patient safety and effective staff skin health in the workplace. This should be coupled with a range of best practice tools to ensure staff are aware of the importance of hand hygiene and can adopt best practice, thus resulting in lasting behaviour change for hospital staff.

By combining these elements, Trusts can drive clinical outcomes, reduce costs, increase patient safety and improve staff skin health.

Although hospitals are starting to put in the right preventative measures to tackle the issue, compliance still remains low. It is crucial that we provide the NHS with the right tools, latest technology, products and information in order to make the necessary changes to ensure a gold standard of hand hygiene.

Deb has been providing dedicated skin care and hand hygiene solutions for over 80 years, with the purpose of setting higher standards in leading the fight against occupational skin disorders and the spread of infections to ‘Make Hands Matter’ in the workplace. HEALTHCARE HYGIENE | 43

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