CDC Foundation, GOJO to promote hand hygiene in U.S. healthcare settings

by Brianna Crandall — February 26, 2016—According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on any given day, one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). There were an estimated 722,000 HAIs in U.S acute care hospitals in 2011. About 75,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations. Infections that patients get in the hospital can be life-threatening and hard to treat, but improving hand hygiene is one of the key strategies to prevent transmission of infections within healthcare facilities.

To better protect patients from this ongoing problem, the nonprofit CDC Foundation, which supports the CDC’s mission in the USA and worldwide, is partnering with hand hygiene and skin care product manufacturer GOJO to provide unbranded hand hygiene educational materials and tools for patients, healthcare providers and caregivers in U.S. healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and other ambulatory care locations. The goal of this initiative is to improve hand hygiene practices in these settings to help reduce the number of HAIs.

CDC recommends that healthcare providers practice hand hygiene at key points in time to disrupt the transmission of microorganisms to patients, visitors and healthcare workers. Patients and their loved ones can play a role in helping to prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene themselves as well as asking or reminding their healthcare providers to perform hand hygiene.

Additionally, many people die from other conditions complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Each year in the United States, an estimated 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Antibiotic-resistant infections and Clostridium difficile also threaten patients in U.S. healthcare facilities. Preventing infections through strong infection control, including handwashing with soap and water and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, can prevent patients from getting infections that require antibiotics, note the partners.

This project is part of the Safe Healthcare Initiative, a partnership program coordinated by CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion and the CDC Foundation to eliminate healthcare-associated infections. Other efforts include the Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program, the Safe Injection Practices Coalition, patient tools for antibiotic stewardship programs, and analyzing antibiotic use in U.S. healthcare settings.