Research on health workers’ hand hygiene compliance promotion:1

hand washing

During this unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic, healthcare workers are one of the most vulnerable high-risk groups who have been contracting the virus, second only to the seniors living in long-term care facilities.

In this background, I looked at the existing evidence about one crucial aspect in the prevention and control of spreading the virus: healthcare workers’ hand hygiene.

During my exploration, I found a systematic review of systematic reviews published in 2018.

A systematic review of systematic reviews – 2018

As anyone can guess, there has been a large number of research available in the world for someone to conduct a systematic review of systematic reviews.

This review has looked at 19 systematic reviews published between 2001 to 2017. Of these, 13 reviews included hospital-based primary studies. In addition to the hospitals, the rest has looked at studies from long-term and other care facilities. Before going further, I would like to highlight that only study, according to their review criteria, had low-risk of bias.

Findings

They have found that;

  • the interventions that targeted social influence, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intention were associated with greater effectiveness.
  • no clear association between the delivery method of the intervention and its effectiveness.

The interventions targeting social influence, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intention were associated with greater effectiveness

Price, L., MacDonald, J., Gozdzielewska, L., Howe, T., Flowers, P., Shepherd, L., . . . Reilly, J. (2018). Interventions to improve healthcare workers’ hand hygiene compliance: A systematic review of systematic reviews. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 39(12), 1449-1456. doi:10.1017/ice.2018.262:https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology/article/interventions-to-improve-healthcare-workers-hand-hygiene-compliance-a-systematic-review-of-systematic-reviews/F340A30ADE35391B7529CD3B581D7BBE

Conclusions

It seems clear that the interventions work. However, there are several caveats; no adequate evidence about the nature of the content, delivery method, and monitoring strategies.

Recommendations

Future research should rigorously apply behavior change theories; the interventions should be long-term and adopt strong study designs with clearly defined outcomes.

Those who are interested to read the full report, here is the link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329577771_Interventions_to_improve_healthcare_workers’_hand_hygiene_compliance_A_systematic_review_of_systematic_reviews

Author: Prasantha De Silva

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

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