Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on audit report: hand washing in a hospital ward setting. Very little is known about the origins of the disease and its behaviour. However, in the current absence of a vaccine or effective drugs for the control of SARS, effective management of an outbreak situation will depend on the quick identification and isolation (where deemed necessary by the physician/-s) of all infected cases thus preventing contact and minimising spread of the disease to other individuals. In this situation, good hand hygiene of staff, patients and visitors is again essential in order to avoid the conversion of the infection into a full-size SARS epidemic (Health Protection Agency, 2005). The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to emphasise the need to prevent patient to patient contamination (World Health Organization, 2006). It is estimated that in the US nearly 2 million people per year suffer from hospital-contracted infections. This directly causes or contributes to an average of 90,000 deaths each year in this country alone (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005).
Hospital-acquired infections are believed to be caused by pathogens transmitted from one patient to another via health care workers who have not washed their hands, or have not done it correctly, between patient contact. Although as early as 150 years ago it was demonstrated that mortality associated with hospital-acquired infections could be considerably reduced when the carers complied with hand washing (Carter, 1983), compliance still remains low. Even the current public awareness of the situation has not encouraged hospital workers to follow the available guidelines and recommendations.