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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Hand hygiene cuts infection risk

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OUH staff, led by the Infection Prevention and Control team, have been raising awareness of the importance of thorough hand washing to mark Hand Hygiene Awareness Day on Friday 5 May 2017.

The World Health Organisation campaign aims to galvanise action at the point of care to show that hand hygiene is the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and improve patient safety. 

Key to this is the 'Five Moments' when healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene.

OUH Interim Chief Nurse Andrew MacCallum said: "We consider the Five Moments of hand hygiene to be an important practice to promote across our hospitals, so I'm pleased to be involved in spreading the word to our staff about this life-saving activity."

The Infection Prevention and Control team has conducted a series of events across the Trust's four hospital sites to raise awareness of the campaign. This has included taking a light box which shows how thorough people's hand-washing techniques are.

"We want to remind staff of the importance of the Five Moments for hand hygiene to reduce the risk of transmitting healthcare-associated infections to our patients," said Lisa Butcher, Lead Nurse and Manager for Infection Control.

"A lot of our work is reactive - when we have to go and sort out a problem in a department. So we're just trying to be proactive this week and go out into the clinical areas to remind people of hand hygiene," she added.

The Five Moments are:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean/aseptic procedures
  • after body fluid exposure/risk
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings.