Feature Article

Good hand hygiene is good medicine

M. Lindsay Grayson, Philip L Russo, Kate Ryan, Kaye Bellis



The ‘5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’ – the critical times when hand hygiene should be performed – provide healthcare workers with a basic guide on when hand hygiene must be performed. This and the convenient placement of alcohol-based hand rubs will enable effective hand hygiene practices.

Key Points

  • It is estimated that 200,000 healthcare-associated infections occur annually in Australia.
  • Hand hygiene is considered the single most important intervention to prevent healthcare-associated infection.
  • The National Hand Hygiene Initiative aims to reduce healthcare-associated infection by implementing the ‘5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’ approach for effective hand hygiene practices across all healthcare facilities.
  • The hand hygiene compliance rates of medical staff in acute care facilities have improved significantly since the inception of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative.