Held last month, the day is a global promotion organised by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness about safe hand hygiene practices.
BHS infection control nurse Vicky Bargmann said hand hygiene significantly contributed to keeping patients safe.
�It is a simple way to prevent the spread of many of the organisms that cause healthcare associated infections (HAIs),� she said. �While hand hygiene is not the only measure to counter infections, it can dramatically enhance patient safety.
�Our hands may look clean, but many germs may be still present which could transmit disease.
�Alcohol-based hand rub is effective against many types of bacteria and viruses, which are invisible to the naked eye.�
Ms Bargmann recommends patients and visitors to the hospital use alcohol hand gel to clean hands upon entry and exit to wards and rooms. She also encourages people to use alcohol hand gel before and after going to the bathroom and before eating.
�The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality estimates there are about 200,000 HAIs in Australian acute healthcare facilities each year,� Ms Bargmann said.
�This makes HAIs the most common complication affecting patients in hospital and these adverse events not only cause harm to our patients, but prolong hospital stays and are costly to the health system.�