The Clean Hands Count campaign is a collaborative effort of the CDC, CMS, State Survey Agencies, and Accrediting Organizations, aiming to improve healthcare provider adherence to hand hygiene (HH) recommendations, address myths and misperceptions about alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR), and empower patients to play a role in their care by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands.
As a basic tenet of infection control and prevention, HFAP expects all accredited healthcare entities to have an infection control and prevention program that includes HH practices based on national standards or professional organizational guidelines. HH guidelines from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the preferential use of ABHR over soap and water in most clinical situations.1,2
When hands are not visibly soiled and the facility is not experiencing an outbreak of norovirus or C. diff, ABHR is the preferred method of HH for healthcare personnel to clean their hands because it:1
- Is more effective at killing potentially deadly germs on hands than soap.
- Requires less time.
- Is more accessible than hand washing sinks.
- Produces reduced bacterial counts on hands.
- Improves skin condition with less irritation and dryness than soap and water.
During surveys, surveyors observe healthcare staff HH practices and use of ABHR. Please be aware that they may :
- Observe HH practices.
- Review HH procedures (CDC and WHO recommend procedures promoting the preferential use of ABHR).
- Observe whether ABHR is readily available for staff to use to support effective HH.
- Document non-compliance related to infection control and prevention, including HH.
HH compliance makes a difference in reducing healthcare associated infections. This combined effort of CMS, AOs and SSAs reinforces the need for effective HH and the importance of access to and use of ABHR as the preferred method of HH for healthcare personnel.
Footnotes and additional links
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
- World Health Organization. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care.
- Clean Hands Count: https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/campaign/index.html
- Quality, Safety and Oversight (QSO) memorandum 20-03-NH
The main CDC page for coronavirus information can be found here. Additional and more focused links are identified below. Please refer to News on the hfap.org homepage for additional items which can be filtered by program type or topic tag.
Disinfectants to control COVID-19 (from EPA)
Guidance on workplace preparedness (from OSHA)
Coronavirus stability on surfaces (from NIH – study to establish how long the virus remains on cardboard, copper, plastic, and stainless steel surfaces)
COVID-19 resource page (from ASHE–American Society for Health Care Engineering– some content is members-only, but much is available to all)
CMS EMERGENCY DECLARATION FACT SHEET released 03.13.2020
Hand hygiene FAQs (from CDC – addresses best method, alternative to ABHR, shortage of ABHR)
PPE (esp. medical glove) conservation strategies letter (from FDA – strategies are categorized for a range of needs and supply levels and are intended to assist health care organizations as they determine procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic)
PPE FAQs (from CDC – covers issues of transporting patients within the facility, asymptomatic exposed patients, EVS)
Emergency Management Compliance (HFAP recommendations)
Patient triage, Placement and Discharge (from CMS QSO memo)
Biosafety FAQ (from CDC)
For compounding pharmacies
Compounding alcohol-based hand sanitizer during COVID-19 pandemic (from USP: This document is for informational purposes only and is intended to address shortages of alcohol-based hand sanitizers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.)
USP response to shortages of garb and PPE for sterile compounding during COVID-19 pandemic (from USP: This document is for informational purposes only and is intended to address the garb and personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.)