Two surgeons washing their hands

Two hospitals in Singapore believe they have developed a more effective hand hygiene program by focusing on handwashing compliance throughout entire wards instead of just from staff member to staff member.

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital launched new hand hygiene programs a few years ago using World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, and the results are encouraging, reports Infection Control Today. 

As part of the program, staff trained in WHO methods audited administrative staff that were not members of the ward staff, as well as infection control liaison nurses and infection control nurses. Wards that didn’t reach targeted compliance rates within the first month were asked to increase their hand hygiene education. If the heightened education didn’t yield results after the second month of monitoring, then the infection committee chairperson was asked to take over the education. In the event of a third month of failure, a special task force comprised of a doctor or nurse was created to implement a compliance improvement strategy.

No ward exceeded four months of being below its compliance target.

Handwashing compliance improved from 65 percent to 78 percent at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital as a result of the program. Cases of MRSA at that facility fell from five episodes at the start of the program to 0 when it ended in 2017.

Jurong Community Hospital improved its handwashing compliance from 64 percent to 75 percent, while also decreasing its MRSA transmission rate.

The importance of handwashing cannot be understated. To get an idea of just how important handwashing is to everyone living human, read this post honoring last month’s Global Handwashing Day.