Hand hygiene – an important matter for AniCura

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Infection control and reduction in spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria are focus areas within AniCura and constitute part of AniCura’s proprietary veterinary medical quality program, QualiCura.

According to the World Health Organization, WHO, clean hands are the single most important measure to minimize spread of micro-organisms including antimicrobial resistant bacteria. To use alcohol-based sanitizer is easy, but compliance to routines is still low even in human healthcare, where they have been working with the matter since the 1950’s. In veterinary medicine, the awareness is increasing and the need of better hand hygiene is of utmost importance as antimicrobial resistant bacteria also affect the welfare of our pets.

Measurements of hand hygiene routines are essential to understand the actual compliance. Performance can be measured directly by observers checking staff compliance, or indirectly by gathering data on the consumption of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

In AniCura’s patient safety focused quality program, QualiCura, infection prevention and control are quite important. To emphasize the need of clean hands, a survey was carried out across AniCura clinics in several countries. The clinics reported their use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers together with data on number of patients during a certain time period.

On average, the participating clinics consumed 14 ml of hand sanitizer per patient day, which indicates an improvement opportunity. Survey findings exhibited large differences in hand sanitizer use across the clinics, both due to differences in care services offered, as well as actual compliance in the clinic.  It is difficult to establish an exact target due to the limited availability of data in veterinary medicine. Moreover, surveys in human healthcare generally only include hospitalized patients. AniCura’s aim for 2017, however, is an increase of consumption in all clinics and a >50% increase of the group’s average. AniCura’s long-term goal is to be above 30 ml of hand sanitizer per patient day on average.

Following each QualiCura survey, AniCura clinics review their individual and the group’s results together with suggestions on how to improve. Internal clinic discussions on how and when to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers are important and here AniCura’s Infection Control Program serves as a guide.

Being a leading animal health care provider with many clinics across several countries, gives AniCura the unique possibility to systematically work with long-term quality improvement, both as a group, as well as within each individual clinic. Sharing experiences and learnings across clinics quickly brings about tangible quality benefits for our patients as well as our customers and staff.

For further information, please contact:

Ulrika Grönlund, Group Medical Quality Manager at AniCura, +46 706 387 562