A Checklist for Implementing Effective Hand Hygiene Protocols in Long Term Care Facilities

Did You Know …

  • The cost of treating infections in Long Term Care facilities is an average of $1,100 to treat each resident or patient
  • Infection treatment costs total more than $1.4 billion in the US each year
  • Facilities risk losing their Medicaid and Medicare status as participating providers if they have uncorrected deficiencies – Hygiene and infection control-related violations are the most common

Hand Care Clean - Hand Hygiene Protocols      Hand Care Safety - Hand Hygiene Protocols      Hand Sanitizer - Hand Hygiene Protocols

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that at least one third of all healthcare related infections can be prevented if proper hand hygiene protocols are implemented. Infections in Long Term Care facilities compromise residents and patients quality of life and are the leading cause of death among patients.

In the “Guidelines for Hand Hygiene for Heathcare Settings”, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthcare facilities must permanently change hand washing practices to improve adherence with recommended hand hygiene protocols. It is also recommended that healthcare and long term care facilities should implement hand hygiene education and compliance programs in order to overcome obstacles with their hand hygiene protocols.

The following is suggested for implementing these protocols:

Administrative Measures:

  • Provide a written statement regarding the value of and institutional support for adherence to recommended hand hygiene practices and programs
  • Implement methods to accurately measure hand hygiene behaviors and infection rates within facilities
  • Observe individual workers to assess hand hygiene regimens and recommend proper hand washing procedures to maintain compliance
  • Provide on-going feedback to healthcare workers regarding infection rates and hand hygiene compliance issues
  • Place sanctions on employees for failure to comply with hand hygiene practices and programs

Selecting Hand Hygiene Products:

  • Select hand hygiene products that take product efficacy and skin compatibility into consideration for healthcare workers
  • Conduct a survey with workers regarding the feel, fragrance, and skin tolerance before  purchasing hand hygiene products into recommended practices and programs

Hand Hygiene Product Types and Availability:

  • Determine if alcohol based and antimicrobial hand hygiene products are available to all healthcare workers
  • Determine placement locations, i.e., resident and patient rooms, hallways, medicine carts for product dispensing

Healthcare Worker and Patient Education:

  • Require healthcare workers to participate in ongoing education programs focused on the practices and techniques of proper hand hygiene
  • Educate healthcare workers on the five moments of hand hygiene to prevent infection transmission Display and post reminders throughout the facility to motivate workers to use approved hand hygiene practices
  • Encourage visitors, patients and residents to participate in improving hand hygiene by reminding healthcare workers to wash and decontaminate their hands

Remember…Although there are initial costs associated implementing the CDC’s hand hygiene recommendations, the initial investment is easily offset by the savings that result in preventing infections and saving lives in Long Term Care and Healthcare facilities.

Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at the Betco Corporation. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys running, cycling and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly. 

3 thoughts on “A Checklist for Implementing Effective Hand Hygiene Protocols in Long Term Care Facilities

  1. Kim

    Can you tell me where you got the $1,100/infection cost for LTC? I would love to quote this but there is no reference.

    Thanks so much.


    1. BetcoBlog Post author

      The information came from the Health Industry Distributors Association, under the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, “Guideline’s for Hand Hygiene for Healthcare Settings,” published 2002/2003. The guidelines can be found at the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/Guidelines.html.

      The CDC measures rates of infection for those conditions not by the number of patient discharges, but by the number of days a medical device is used in a facility. Long-term-care hospitals, in particular, feel this is a more equitable system because it also adjusts the data based on patient risk factors.

      Another step at the federal level involves the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In 2008, it started curtailing payments to hospitals for conditions or infections in Medicare patients that are “reasonably preventable”.

      If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  2. BetcoBlog Post author

    Hi Kim,

    The breakdown where this number came from was a survey conducted at a private long term care facility. The data was compiled and derived from recommendations by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The number was based off a 50 bed facility and the cost varies from several factors and established ratings within a facility based upon the following criteria: Use of indwelling medical devices, surgical procedures, injections, potential contamination of the health care environment, transmission of communicable disease between patients and healthcare workers and overuse/improper use of antibiotics. These recommendations as well as HHS agency’s priority goals can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/hai. Our Skin Care expert would like to talk with you and explain any further questions. You can email her at KComperchio@betco.com.


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