Why Perform Hand Hygiene Audits?
A hand hygiene audit is used to assess hand hygiene techniques being performed within healthcare settings. It aims to prevent the spread of infection between healthcare workers and patients through observational inspections.
While easily avoidable, infections acquired during the ordinary course of patient care remain a leading cause of death and disability worldwide - with over 1.4 million cases occurring at any given time. The simplest and most effective solution is for healthcare workers to practice proper hand hygiene techniques during the five moments of patient care.
Healthcare facilities should perform regular hand hygiene audits to identify training gaps and remind staff of the importance of basic infection control. This article covers:
- How to effectively perform a hand hygiene audit;
- Hand hygiene audit tools you can use to streamline reporting; and
- Downloadable hand hygiene audit templates.
Click here to download top 3 free hand hygiene audit templates
How to Perform a Hand Hygiene Audit
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends these key steps to follow when performing a hand hygiene audit of health care workers:
1. Communicate with the facility
Contact the hospital administration before commencing the audit. Announce the period of observation and the purpose of performing the hand hygiene audit. Inform healthcare workers about the data documentation method (e.g. photo evidence).
2. Identify specific areas to audit
Audit all areas where patient care is regularly undertaken. Introduce yourself to the head nurse, the chief doctor of the unit or the department manager and provide a general explanation of the role of the observer. Aim to perform a sufficient number of observations across various wards and departments.
3. Maintain patient privacy
Patient privacy must not be compromised during auditing. Written permission from patients may be required. Do not audit during extreme situations (e.g. emergency medical treatment, signs of uncontrolled stress in a healthcare worker).
4. Observe an individual healthcare worker
Conduct the audit according to the WHO’s Five Moments of Hand Hygiene:
- Before touching a patient
- Before clean/aseptic procedures
- After body fluid exposure/risk
- After touching a patient
- After touching patient surroundings
Indicate whether or not the healthcare worker used the following techniques:
5. Document and share key findings
Provide feedback to the healthcare worker if hand hygiene was not performed. Compliance scores can be determined by the ratio of the number of performed actions (hand hygiene) to the number of opportunities (moments). Results should be shared with management, department heads, boards as well as front-line healthcare workers.
Software for Hand Hygiene Audits and Reporting
Healthcare auditors can use digital hand hygiene audit tools such as iAuditor to streamline data gathering and reporting. iAuditor is the world’s #1 inspection software and can be used by auditors to:
- ✔ Perform easy hand hygiene audits on a mobile device
- ✔ Capture and store unlimited photos of hand hygiene observations
- ✔ Automatically track compliance scores across 5 moments
- ✔ Generate and share key findings before leaving the facility