Hand Hygiene Compliance in Acute Care Facilities – How did we do?

Jul 14, 2016 | News

Hand hygiene audits of PHC staff are completed on a quarterly basis by the PHC Infection Prevention and Control team.

The most recent hand hygiene audits of PHC acute care facilities were completed from May 31 to June 17 (also known as Quarter 1 for 2016/17).

So how did we show up this Quarter?


Infection Control Practitioners observe staff before and after they provide care to patients or come into contact with the patient environment and record whether appropriate hand hygiene was completed.


An example of a compliant hand hygiene event is was when a health care worker washes their hands or uses alcohol-based hand rub before touching the patient or the patient’s immediate environment. Compliance afterwards counts as another event.

Conversely, putting on new gloves prior to touching a patient, in the absence of hand washing or alcohol-based hand rub use, is not a compliant hand hygiene event.


Audits were conducted at three of our sites:

  • St. Paul’s Hospital
  • Mount Saint Joseph Hospital
  • Holy Family Hospital

In total, 28 units were audited including medical, surgical, ICU, and emergency department units, and the Vancouver community dialysis unit.


Overall hand hygiene compliance was 84%, which is above the provincial target of 80% and just below the PHC target of 85%. Hand hygiene compliance has been above 80% for each of the last 5 quarters, which is a great result and an improvement upon previous years.

Hand hygiene compliance was highest for nursing staff (85%), followed by Other staff, which includes allied health professionals and support staff (79%), and medical staff (77%). Nursing staff have had consistently high hand hygiene compliance – great work! – and excellent improvements have been made on behalf of our allied health, support and medical staff groups in the past year.

Hand hygiene compliance was lower before patient contact (76%) than after contact (89%). Compliance before patient contact has been consistently lower than after patient contact. We are working to improve before patient contact hand hygiene in all PHC facilities and for all staff types.


Practicing good hand hygiene reduces our patients’ risks of getting an infection while in hospital. Hand hygiene compliance has been continually improving in PHC facilities. Let’s all do our part to keep the positive trend going and help prevent hospital transmission of infectious diseases!

Quality & Safety

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