August 16, 2011
1 min read

Reminders work best to boost hand-hygiene compliance

Linam WM. Pediatrics. 2011;doi:10.1542/peds.2010-3587.

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Health care workers who received real-time feedback were more likely to reach and sustain high levels of hand-hygiene compliance, according to a recent study published online.

Matthew Linam, MD, MS, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and colleagues assessed two intervention techniques, one that used a team (unit A) made up of members of infection control and leaders from patient attendant services, and a second team (unit B) that included nursing and physician leaders.

The researchers said interventions began on unit A on Nov. 10, 2008, and unit B on March 23, 2009.

Matthew Linam
Matthew Linam

By April 1, 2009, compliance increased on unit A (from 65% to 91%) and unit B (from 74% to 92%), the researchers wrote. Improvement on each unit occurred only after the interventions were introduced.

The researchers said offering hand gels to health care workers (HCWs) before patient contact resulted in the greatest improvements overall, and improvements were sustained on both units for 18 months.

Although hand hygiene is a relatively simple task, the behavior is complex and influenced by many factors. The expectations of hospital leaders, behavior of role models and peers, and HCWs perceived self-efficacy have all previously been associated with HCW hand-hygiene behavior, resulting in recommendations for the use of multimodal interventions to improve hand hygiene, the researchers said.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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