The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee published the Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings in October 2002 in which alcohol handrubs were recommended for use in healthcare facilities. At that time existing national fire codes as set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) permitted handrub dispensers in patient rooms, but prohibited their installation in egress or exit corridors.
On March 25, 2005, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule adopting an amendment by the NFPA allowing for the installation of alcohol hand-rub dispensers in egress corridors. (Note: Local or state fire code requirements may differ from the national codes; therefore, facilities are strongly urged to determine requirements for their particular locale.) For additional information, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/firesafety/cmsRuling.htm
Alcohol handrubs are an important strategy for improving hand-hygiene practices by healthcare personnel, reducing healthcare-associated infections, and improving overall patient safety. CMSs new interim rule is an important step in improving access to alcohol handrub dispensers in healthcare settings. Healthcare facilities should continue to promote hand hygiene to prevent transmission of healthcare-associated infections.