The National Hand Hygiene Initiative

The National Hand Hygiene Initiative

Letter to the Editor CSIRO PUBLISHING Healthcare Infection, 2011, 16, 122 The National Hand Hygiene Initiative Ph...

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Letter to the Editor


Healthcare Infection, 2011, 16, 122

The National Hand Hygiene Initiative Philip Russo BN, MClinEpi On behalf of the Hand Hygiene Australia team. Email: [email protected]

Dear Editor, The implementation of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative has provided many challenges. Stackelroth and Shaban1 highlight some unique circumstances of health services in rural and remote areas which may warrant exploring alternative methods to implement such a program. Key to the success of Hand Hygiene Australia auditor training workshops, and recommended to others when conducting workshops, is a ratio of one supervisor for every 3–4 participants. This is vital when visiting clinical areas, so the supervisor can provide close instruction to the participants as they learn to audit. Experience has taught us that the clinical visits are crucial to the participants’ understanding of auditing, and ultimately passing the required assessment. Stackelroth and Shaban note that there were only two supervisors for 17 participants and that due to lack of activity, visits to clinical areas (for practical training) were cancelled and all audit training was done via the DVD. We suggest that these deviations from Hand Hygiene Australia recommendations would have significantly contributed to the poor participant pass rate. It is unclear if the low ratio of

Ó Australian Infection Control Association 2011

supervisors to participants was a result of lack of resources, or why there was limited activity in the clinical areas. Hand Hygiene Australia has several resources available, including staff who are able to conduct or assist with workshops. This resource is frequently used by areas across Australia, including those in rural and remote locations. In other rural and remote areas, a variety of methods, including video/teleconferencing, online meetings and demonstrations have been utilised for hand hygiene audit education and follow-up. The training of hand hygiene auditors requires dedication and time. We applaud the efforts undertaken to conduct the workshop described by Stackelroth and Shaban, and encourage all endeavours that will result in the continuing increase of hand hygiene compliance rates.

References 1.

Stackelroth J, Shaban RZ. The challenges of implementing a national hand hygiene initiative in rural and remote areas: Is it time for a new approach to auditing? Healthc Infect 2011; 16(2): 63–70. doi:10.1071/ HI11001