What is Australia doing to reduce SAB?

There are many initiatives that take place at the national, jurisdiction and local/hospital level to reduce the occurrence of SAB and other HAIs. These include the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI), which aims to educate and promote standardise hand hygiene practice in all Australian hospitals (ACSQHC 2011, 2018; ACSQHC & NHPA 2015; ACSQHC & AIHW 2018).

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is a key intervention to prevent or reduce HAIs, including SAB.

Hand hygiene in hospitals generally refers to the washing and/or use of alcohol-based rubs by healthcare workers to clean their hands, and should be performed according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘Five Moments for Hand Hygiene (WHO 2018).

The NHHI is managed by Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA) and includes auditing and reporting processes for hospitals to measure how they are performing. Following establishment of the NHHI, an interim benchmark (compliance rate) of 70% applied. This benchmark was increased to 75% in 2016, and increased again to 80% in 2017.

In the audit period covering April to June 2018 (audit period 2 2018), HHA found an overall hand hygiene compliance rate of 85%.

Between 2013 (audit period 1) and 2018 (audit period 2), compliance rates at public hospitals increased from 77% to 84% (see Figure HH1).

Figure HH1. Hand hygiene compliance rates for public hospitals, 2013 to 2018

Between 2013 (audit period 1) and 2018 (audit period 2), compliance rates at private hospitals increased from 76% to 86% (see Figure HH2).

Figure HH2. Hand hygiene compliance rates for private hospitals, 2013 to 2018