Hand Hygiene Practices Low Among Health Care Providers

Study at oncology hospital finds overall hand hygiene compliance at only 34.3 percent
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses and other health care providers are often noncompliant with hand hygiene guidelines before and after procedures, though compliance is higher with high-risk procedures and when health care providers are exposed to blood, according to a study in the May issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Denise M. Korniewicz, R.N., of the University of Miami, and Maher El-Masri, R.N., of the University of Windsor in Canada, evaluated hand hygiene practices observed during 612 procedures that were performed by 67 health care professionals at an oncology hospital.

The researchers found that hand hygiene compliance was 41.7 percent prior to procedures and 72.1 percent post-procedure, with overall compliance only 34.3 percent. Hand hygiene compliance was higher in high-risk procedures and when health care professionals were exposed to blood (odds ratios, 1.77 and 1.40, respectively). In addition, those exposed to sweat and those of female gender were less likely to comply with hand hygiene practices (odds ratios, 0.79 and 0.63, respectively). Hand hygiene compliance was approximately 1.7 times higher in medical-surgical oncology than hemato-oncology units.

"Given the observational nature of our study, it is possible that participants may have altered their natural hand hygiene practice simply because they were aware that those practices were being observed," the authors write. "Regardless of these limitations, our findings shed light on the issue of hand hygiene practices in acute health care settings and the factors impacting these practices."

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