Clinical Change

Hand Hygiene


Hand Hygiene

The big idea

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a significant and growing problem in our health care system. Improving hand hygiene among health care workers is the single most effective intervention to reduce the risk of HAIs in Australia. The program is based on the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene of the World Health Organization.

Program details

The Hand Hygiene program is one of a number of initiatives of the Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) program. It enables NSW local health districts and networks to improve infection control behaviour and implement consistent infection control processes and surveillance.

Hand Hygiene (HH) performed by clinicians is known to be the single, most effective intervention to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections in the healthcare system.

There remain many challenges in further improving clinicians’ hand hygiene performance.

Hand Hygiene Policy

The specific hand hygiene practices required to minimise the risk of patients, visitors and staff acquiring a HAI are outlined in the NSW Health Hand Hygiene Policy – link.

The Hand Hygiene Policy requires Health Services to:

  • Have alcohol-based hand rubs and hand washing facilities available to all staff, patients and visitors
  • Establish, maintain and review a hand hygiene awareness program for all staff
  • Monitor hand hygiene audits and act on the results.

Hand hygiene is defined as performing appropriate hand hygiene as per the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene, which are:

  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before a procedure
  3. After a procedure or body fluid exposure risk
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching a patient’s surroundings.


CEC Clean in Clean out poster CEC Lead the way poster
CEC Clean in Clean out posterPDF ~347Kb CEC Lead the way posterPDF ~243Kb

Hand Hygiene program website

Contact details

Project Officer Hand Hygiene
Clinical Excellence Commission
(02) 9269 5500