Introduction to hand hygiene
Audits of Emergency Departments have shown that hand hygiene is performed adequately less than 60% of the time. Reasons cited include the frequency that providers and staff enter rooms, the irritating effects on skin, rules that require hand hygiene even if the patient “is not touched”, and the need to react to emergent conditions. Nevertheless, infection control practices, hospital policy, and Joint Commission track and report this metric as part of assessing hospital quality. Quality initiatives to improve compliance can consist of staff education, period audits, and wide spread availability of alcohol foam. An increase of compliance rates have been shown to improve to over 90%.