Health care professional disinfects her hands

May 5th, 2021 is World
Hand Hygiene Day

What does hand hygiene at the point of care mean?

On May 5th, 2009 the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the World Hand Hygiene Day. Its focus is hand hygiene as the most important measure to prevent nosocomial infections. Especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this topic has earned new attention: Hand hygiene now plays a greater role in breaking chains of infection in everyday life.
Point-of-care sticker from HARTMANN for International Hand Hygiene Day
Of course, it has always been a top priority in healthcare in particular; and in 2021 it is more essential than ever at the point of care. This year's SECONDS SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign aims to further raise awareness for the importance of hand hygiene in clinics and care facilities. HARTMANN supports this campaign with flyers, posters and stickers that focus on the important touchpoints of caregivers.

Hands are a frequent route for the transmission of pathogens

HARTMANN campaign poster for International Hand Hygiene Day
HARTMANN supports World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th, 2021

All over the world, health care professionals are especially close to patients. They touch them with their hands. If they keep their hands disinfected, they protect their patients - and can save lives. Around 78,000 people die in Europe every year due to a nosocomial infection, also known as HAI (healthcare-associated infection)1. It is the few seconds of hand disinfection that play an important role.

As a hygiene specialist, HARTMANN is committed to reducing the risk of infection. Since 2020, the "Mission: Infection Prevention" initiative, which was launched specifically for this purpose, has been providing support. The mission is to break infection chains. HARTMANN is facing up to this holistic mission with well-founded information on possibilities and experiences that can help prevent infections. One of the most important factors here: hand hygiene.

A study proves: Placement of disinfectant dispensers can facilitate hand hygiene compliance

In this context, a study by Charité Berlin, with the active participation of HARTMANN, was able to show that a multimodal intervention package with a focus on aseptic activities improves hand hygiene compliance2. Compliance is also facilitated by easily accessible hand disinfectant dispensers. They should be placed exactly where they are needed. Cleverly designed patient rooms take this aspect into account and can help reduce infections. The multi-partner project "Patient rooms of the future" demonstrates this opportunity to increase compliance in hand hygiene.

HARTMANN has not only dealt with these requirements at the point-of-care in general, but also with the specific needs on site: There are therefore different dispensers that can be easily mounted on bed frames, for example, or on the wall to save space3.

The focus at the point of care: disinfected hands can save lives

The 5 moments of hand disinfection according to the WHO

The patient room is the central place where the so-called 5 moments of hand disinfection take place:

  • BEFORE patient contact
  • BEFORE aseptic tasks
  • AFTER body fluid exposure risk
  • AFTER patient contact
  • AFTER contact with the patient surroundings
As important as omnipresent dispensers are at the point of care: they are only the basis of the hand hygiene system. It is equally important to carry out the self-responsible hygienic hand disinfection properly. This includes:
Hands rub in disinfectant thoroughly
• careful rubbing in for the entire application time, during which the hands must be kept moist
Hand with fingertips marked in blue
• and special attention is given to fingertips and thumbs

The World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th has symbolic appeal

The WHO deliberately chose the fifth day of the fifth month in the year: It stands for the five fingers on our hand. Healthcare workers touch their patients many hundreds of times a day. It is their responsibility to safeguard this connection when accompanying patients on the road to recovery: By disinfecting their hands. By taking this small step, they give their patients the feeling that they are in good hands with them - in disinfected hands.
1Zacher et al. (2019). Euro Surveill 24 (46): pii=1900135
2Aghdassi et al. (2020) Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 9(1):113.
3DESINFACTS 2/2020. Prevent infections using room planning. https://www.bode-science-center.com/fileadmin/DESINFACTS-2-2020/22/ (last accessed on 13.04.2021)

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