Alcohol sanitizers and hand hygiene compliance

Hand hygiene has become nowadays one of the most heard behavioral activities. It is one of the most effective actions we should do to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus. Therefore alcohol hand sanitizers are an essential commodity.

The healthcare workers are not an exception.

However, adherence to cleaning hands with 70 percent alcohol hand sanitizers by healthcare workers requires promotion.

Simply, alcohol hand sanitizers should be made accessible at hand whenever necessary, most of the time at bedside of patients in hospitals.

Does alcohol-based hand rub sanitizers, when accessible, improve hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers?

The answer is yes.

Setting Two ICUs and one general medical ward in a US hospital
Target audienceAll healthcare workers
Study design Six-month observational study
Intervention One sanitizer per 4 bedsides initially and then one per
each bedside was introduced.
Main outcome measure Direct observation of handwashing randomized for the
time of the day and bed location
Findings The compliance rates improved from 19% to 41% with
1 dispenser per 4 beds and from 23% to 48%
with 1 dispenser for each bed.
Conclusion The introduction of sanitizers is associated with higher
rates of handwashing compliance.
Journal referenceApril 10, 2000, JAMA NETWORK; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/485276?resultClick=1
Accessfree access to the full article

However, the finding is from an observational study.

Author: Prasantha De Silva

A specialist in Community Medicine board-certified in Sri Lanka and a research analyst in Canada

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