Expansion of Clean Hands Count Campaign Reaches New Healthcare Audiences, Includes Educational Materials in Spanish

Hand hygiene effort will also launch community materials in fall 2019

ATLANTA—Keeping hands clean by practicing hand hygiene is one of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. In recognition of World Hand Hygiene Day, the CDC Foundation is pleased to announce a new phase in a program aimed at improving hand hygiene in healthcare and community settings with continued support from GOJO and a new partner, Staples.

“The importance of hand hygiene cannot be understated, particularly in healthcare settings,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation. “We are grateful to GOJO for their support of the Clean Hands Count campaign since 2016, and we appreciate Staples joining us as a new partner as we reach out to communities later this year.”

On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Additionally, each year one to three million residents of long-term care facilities have a serious infection. 

“Cleaning your hands sounds too simple to be important – but in every healthcare setting it’s the best way to protect patients from infections,” said Janet Glowicz, PhD, RN, with CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. 

This simple yet effective way to prevent these infections is particularly important for healthcare workers. To help address this issue, the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, with support from GOJO, announced a hand hygiene campaign in 2016 called Clean Hands Count. The purpose of this campaign is to improve hand hygiene outreach in U.S. healthcare facilities by creating a comprehensive initiative that reaches a broad group of healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.

The 2019 extension of the Clean Hands Count campaign includes new materials designed to encourage proper hand hygiene in dialysis centers and long-term care facilities as well as additional materials translated to Spanish. These materials are intended to empower patients to ask healthcare providers to clean their hands and to guide healthcare personnel in the use of hand sanitizer at key moments during care. 

In addition to healthcare settings, improving handwashing and hand sanitizing in community settings, such as homes, schools and offices, is also a key strategy to prevent the transmission of illness and infection. Many diseases are spread in the community because people do not wash their hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available. To improve hand hygiene in community settings, the CDC Foundation, GOJO and Staples are collaborating with CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch on a new community-based campaign that will launch in the fall 2019. The efforts will include a full suite of educational materials about the importance of hand hygiene in communities.  

“Handwashing and hand sanitizing save lives – both in healthcare settings, and in community settings,” said Jim Arbogast, PhD, hygiene science and public health advancement vice president of GOJO. “It is the single most important measure we can take for our personal and community well-being, and yet hand hygiene at key moments is all too often forgotten. This is why at GOJO, we are committed to continuing our long-term partnership with the CDC, the CDC Foundation and Staples, to work together to increase the healthy habit of hand hygiene to improve public health outcomes.”

“Staples is excited to partner with the CDC Foundation to bring continued awareness of the Clean Hands Count campaign,” said Brady Nunley, vice president, GMM, facilities, breakroom, furniture, Staples. “Hand hygiene in all community settings, specifically healthcare facilities is so critical and through Staples’ partnership with both GOJO and the CDC Foundation, our teams will help educate healthcare providers, patients and caregivers, working towards a healthier community.”