Hand Hygiene Audit

Prevent the spread of infection in patient care by reinforcing proper handwashing techniques

|Lista de control de procedimiento de lavado de manos|Hand Hygiene Techniques with Alcohol-Based Formulation|Hand Hygiene Audit - Washing Technique with Soap and Water

What is Hand Hygiene Audit?

Hand hygiene audit is the process of making sure that hand hygiene techniques being practiced in healthcare follow recommended guidelines. Hand hygiene audit aims to prevent the spread of infection between healthcare workers and patients through observational inspections of handwashing techniques.

What is Hand Hygiene Compliance?

Hand hygiene compliance is a health and safety policy that is required of health care providers. This policy helps in reducing incidences of health-related infections, therefore protecting both patient and healthcare workers. It may seem like a simple policy, however, negligence to it will negatively impact a healthcare institution’s morbidity rate, duration of hospital stays, and treatment prices.

In a study about Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, it was concluded that a good hand hygiene compliance is achieved when health care providers are well trained and have better knowledge and understanding of the hand hygiene guidelines and techniques. Other factors that affect compliance are the attitude of healthcare providers towards hand hygiene, and the presence of soap and water, and alcohol or sanitizers in the working area.

Why Perform the Audits?

While easily avoidable, acquiring infection during the ordinary course of patient care remains 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 to prevent the spread of infection in healthcare 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.

How to Perform a Hand Hygiene Audit

Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene guidelines for 2019, the WHO recommends these key steps to follow when performing a hand hygiene audit of healthcare 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:

Hand Hygiene Audit - Washing Technique with Soap and Water

Hand Hygiene Technique | WHO

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.

Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

Explore more templates

Hand Hygiene Compliance Checklist
This hand hygiene compliance checklist is used internally to evaluate the hand hygiene techniques of healthcare workers. Use this checklist to easily monitor performance quality and provide feedback with photo evidence. This checklist can be used by healthcare professionals to identify training gaps and improve the overall culture of patient safety.
Infection Control Audit
An infection control audit is used to ensure the completion of baseline control measures against healthcare-associated infections. Use this template to instantly alert colleagues or superiors about non-compliant items. Healthcare administrators can customize this template based on the facility policies to implement necessary system changes.

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