A joint study conducted by the World Health Organization and Colombia University School of Nursing reveals that many medical facilities are exercising a substandard commitment to proper hand hygiene. Though equipment is available for hand washing and sanitizing, top level commitment to standards and enforcement is still lacking.
The study, which analyzed 168 healthcare facilities in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico indicated that:
- Only 77.5% had alcohol-based sanitizer
available at every point of care
- Only 50% had budgets for proper hand hygiene education and training
- 1 in 10 reported insufficient commitment by upper level management
Health care associated infections are one of the leading causes of infections, resulting in the death of over 100,000 patients annually. Additionally, treatment costs for these infections are estimated to total over $33 billion per year in the United States alone. Both the CDC (2002) and WHO (2009) established guidelines regarding the importance of clear and consistent standards for hand hygiene for the prevention of these infections.