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Hand Hygiene

Dozens of health-care workers — from doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and others — come in contact with patients in the hospitals and clinics every day. To protect patients from infection, we require that patient care workers thoroughly clean their hands before and after caring for each patient.

Hand hygiene means using either alcohol gel or soap and water, and using the proper washing techniques for the appropriate length of time.

At UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, a team of Infection Control staff, doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, spiritual care staff, engineers and others created a program to ensure proper hand hygiene.

Since this program was implemented in July 2010, our rate of hand hygiene has improved to about 90 percent each month, meaning about 90 percent of the employees monitored each month are cleaning their hands.

What does UCSF do to ensure proper hand hygiene?

UCSF considers hand hygiene a priority and expects every health-care worker to clean their hands every time they go in or out of a patient's hospital room or exam room.

Data about hand hygiene compliance are collected through monitoring, both discreetly and openly, and on camera in some areas. A daily report is distributed widely. When someone fails to follow proper hand hygiene, they are reminded and coached on correct hand hygiene.

How do you know hand hygiene makes a difference?

UCSF and other institutions have studied the impact of hand hygiene to reduce infection rates. Hand hygiene is one of many measures at UCSF that have helped lower the rate of infections, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections. Our infection rates continue to decline.


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