Hand hygiene ID’d as a priority for infection control

Health Minister Dave Hancock is hoping health care workers will wash their hands in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.



That was one of the pillars of a new infection prevention strategy unveiled yesterday at the McDougall Centre in Calgary.


"It doesn’t sound very profound, but if there’s one thing that we can encourage and educate and emphasize is that something as simple as proper hand hygiene can make a huge difference," the minister said.

Hancock said each health region has had their own hand hygiene standards in the past, but with a new provincial standard, each region will likely have to "raise the bar", he said.

The Alberta Infection Prevention and Control Strategy has four main areas: accountability and reporting; standards for cleaning reusable medical devices; standards for single use medical devices; and standards for preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The province will spend $16 million on upgrading the infrastructure in hospitals around the province in order to meet the guidelines stated in the new strategy.

The strategy is expected to begin implementation on Feb. 1 with regular monitoring starting in April.