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  1. Busby, Sunni R. BSN, RN, CMSRN
  2. Kennedy, Bryan MS, RN, NEA-BC
  3. Davis, Stephanie C. PhD, RN, FNP-BC
  4. Thompson, Heather A. BA, ADN, RN, CMSRN
  5. Jones, Jan W. ADN, RN


Background: The authors hypothesized that patients may not understand the forms of effective hand hygiene employed in the hospital environment.


Literature review: Multiple studies demonstrate the importance of hand hygiene in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Extensive research about how to improve compliance has been conducted.


Methodology: Patients' perceptions of proper hand hygiene were evaluated when caregivers used soap and water, waterless hand cleaner, or a combination of these.


Results: No significant differences were observed, but many patients reported they didn't notice whether their providers cleaned their hands.


Discussion: Educating patients and their caregivers about the protection afforded by proper, consistent hand hygiene practices is important.


Implications for nursing practice: Engaging patients to monitor healthcare workers may increase compliance, reduce the spread of infection, and lead to better overall patient outcomes.


Implications for research: This study revealed a need to investigate the effects of patient education on patient perceptions of hand hygiene.


Conclusion: Results of this study appear to indicate a need to focus on patient education and the differences between soap and water versus alcohol-based hand sanitizers as part of proper hand hygiene.