Clean Hands Save Lives – 5 Moments is all it takes

Friday October 14, 2011

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has this week launched its “5 Moments for Hand Hygiene” campaign in health care facilities across the Canterbury region.

The campaign is backed by Hand Hygiene New Zealand – the agency responsible for the development and implementation of the Hand Hygiene New Zealand project nationwide.

Canterbury District Health Board’s Executive Director of Nursing Mary Gordon says it’s a simple fact hand hygiene is the single most important activity to help prevent the spread of colds, influenza, tummy bugs and other infections. It is also the most effective and achievable way of improving staff and patient safety.

“It’s so important that the Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand and the World Health Organization have both highlighted hand hygiene in health care as an ongoing top priority,” Mary says.

The “5 Moments”  are the five key opportunities health care staff have to dramatically reduce the risk of spreading infection, simply through cleaning hands thoroughly,  either by hand washing with liquid soap and water, or using alcohol-based hand rub.

The 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene are:

Moment 1 - before patient contact

Moment 2 - before a procedure

Moment 3 - after a procedure or body fluid exposure risk

Moment 4 - after patient contact

Moment 5 - after contact with patient surroundings.

“Our objective is to make 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene part of the way we do business every day,” Mary says.

“Over the coming months it will become the focus of training for hands-on staff, supported with good display material to remind them by making sure alcohol-based hand rub is always handy.”

Patients should also expect to see their health care worker cleaning their hands.

“If they don’t, they should feel free to ask – it can only serve as a helpful reminder to staff.”

The Health Quality & Safety Commission has set us the tough target of 90% compliance with the Hand Hygiene New Zealand project by 30 June 2012.

“I am confident that Canterbury District Health Board staff will grasp the challenge with both clean hands,” Mary says.

Page last reviewed: 14 February 2014