Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI supports WHO World Hand Hygiene Day with a month of hand hygiene initiatives

06 May 2015
To coincide with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Hand Hygiene Day on 5th May, a number of initiatives are taking place in RCSI Hospitals over the month of May to promote the essential role of healthcare staff hand hygiene in preventing healthcare-associated infection such as Clostridium difficile and the transmission of antimicrobial resistant organisms such as MRSA.


Professor Cathal Kelly, Chief Executive, RCSI said: "RCSI is committed to promoting leadership in healthcare education. I encourage all RCSI staff and students to lead the way as role models for hand hygiene to help keep patients safe, by preventing the transmission of infectious diseases."

Good hand hygiene is a fundamental part of quality patient care and it only takes 15 seconds when using an alcohol hand rub to clean your hands. There are only two times that you cannot use alcohol hand rub for hand hygiene: 1) if hands are visibly dirty or 2) when caring for patients with suspected/confirmed C. difficile infection. In these instances, hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

The WHO have outlined the 5 occasions when it is particularly important to clean your hands when caring for patients, namely before and after patient care, before a clean or aseptic procedure (e.g. catheter insertion), after body fluid exposure and after touching the patients surroundings.

The Irish national hand hygiene guidelines have been recently updated and new materials have been developed including a newsletter to demonstrate the huge efforts that are being made in relation to hand hygiene around the country and to share ideas about how hand hygiene can be improved. This includes an article from Beaumont Hospital on their ongoing work at improving hand hygiene and the development of an app to facilitate real time auditing and feedback for improvement. The newsletter, guidelines and videos are available at:  

RCSI is among the top 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education University World Rankings, 2014-15). It is a not-for-profit health sciences institution focused on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.