During the COVID-19 national emergency, we will be updating resources regularly.
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.
HFAP customer FAQs can be found here.
Patient guidance on seeking non-COVID-19 medical care and what to expect from healthcare providers as they enact measure to encourage patient safety. (from CMS)
U.S. government resources related to response and recovery (from HHS office of the Asst. Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR))
Disinfectants to control COVID-19 (from EPA)
Guidance on workplace preparedness (from OSHA)
Blanket waivers from CMS (including updates through May 8, 2020)
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)
Return to work criteria (from CDC, test-based and non-test-based) for allowing an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 to return to work)
N95 mask decontamination and sterilization systems covered under EUA (from AAMI, a recorded webinar with representatives from 3M, STERIS, BATTELLE, ASP, and Sterilucent)
FAQ – Guidance on shortages of surgical masks and gowns (from FDA, endorsed by CMS April 10, 2020)
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)
Strategies to optimize PPE (from CDC)
NIOSH-approved disposable respirators (from CDC)
Interim Final Rule: Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (CMS QSO memo 20-37-CLIANH, August 25, 2020 and related posting in the Federal REgister on September 2, 2020)
Guidance for licensed independent freestanding EDs to participate in Medicare during the COVID-19 public health emergency. (CMS QSO memo 20-27, April 21, 2020; information that a hospital considering affiliating with such an ED should know.)
Risk assessment and public health management of healthcare personnel with potential exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with COVID-19 (from CDC – March 7, 2020)
Clinical guidance for management of patients with confirmed COVID-19 (from CDC – updated March 30, 2020: Site provides information on clinical presentation, clinical course, diagnostic testing, laboratory and radiographic findings, clinical management and treatment, investigational therapeutics, and discontinuation of transmission-based precautions or home isolation.)
Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of COVID-19 – Revised (CMS QSO memo 20-13)
Emergency Management Compliance (HFAP recommendations)
Patient triage, Placement and Discharge (from CMS QSO memo)
- Discharge from hospital to home (from CDC)
- Discharge from hospital to long-term care or assisted living (from CDC)
Discontinuing transmission-based precautions for COVID-19 patients (from CDC, test-based and non-test-based decision strategies)
Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) points of contact (from CSTE, updated September 29, 2020: Lists the appropriate ELR contacts for each jurisdiction so that laboratories and other reporting facilities can connect with health department staff regarding ELR onboarding requests and issues.)
Do not distribute list for COVID-19 serology tests (from CDC, updated May 22, 2020)
Interim laboratory biosafety guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with COVID-19 (from CDC, updated May 11, 2020)
Serology testing for COVID-19 (from CDC)
COVID-19 Reponse Weekly Calls (from CDC)
qSARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Test approval letter April 1, 2020 (FDA EUA)
–Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers (from FDA)
–Fact Sheet for Patients (from FDA)
–Package insert (FDA download)
Abbott product letter (Use of the i-STAT CG4+(Blue) and i-STAT G3+(Blue) cartridges during the COVID-19 public health emergency)
Biosafety FAQ (from CDC)
Updated FDA FAQs (includes waived categorization language and non-EUA tests)
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.)