Hand Wash

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Hand Wash

Hand Wash

Hand /washing in health care


This research evaluated the effectualness of an education program in increasing health care workers' knowledge of hand hygiene practices and guidelines and promoting behavioral change, as measured by self-assessment of adherence to guidelines. In short this comprehensive research is on hand/washing in health care.

Literature Review

Low levels of compliance with hand hygiene procedures among health care workers are widespread. Adherence to hand hygiene practices among health care workers is reported to range from 30% to 60%, but rarely exceeds 50% . Health care workers who touch the skin of patients while providing care can harbour and spread infectious organisms on their hands. Annually, 90,000 patients die of health care-associated infections, and of these, it is estimated that 15% to 30% (13,500 to 27,000) are attributed to poor hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene is fundamental to patient health and safety and is the most cost-effective way to reduce bacteria transfer .

The World Health Organization recognized hand hygiene as a significant source of health care-associated infection and called for global action to ameliorate noncompliance with hand hygiene protocols . To improve compliance with the hand hygiene standards for health care workers, researchers at the University of Geneva Hospitals in Switzerland suggested focusing on three dimensions of hand hygiene practices: behavioural beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs. They found that compliance was highly associated with the belief that good hygiene prevents infections (behavioral), that superiors expected adherence to hygiene standards (normative), and that hand washing required little effort (control). Results from the “clean your hands” campaign in England supported the three-dimensional approach. The campaign focused on increased compliance through the introduction of alcohol wipes and marketing materials aimed at health care providers. Follow-up interviews were conducted during the 6 months post-baseline along with data on usage of alcohol wipes. Self-report interviews with health care workers showed that hand cleaning increased from 32% to 74%. Behavioural beliefs are largely influenced by educational programs and hand washing promotional materials (Maskerine, 2006, 244). A lack of routine knowledge about appropriate hand hygiene has been linked to noncompliance of health care workers.

An observational study in four hospitals found that the inclusion of hand washing educational programs and the availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer significantly reduced the presence of antimicrobial- resistant bacteria compared with control settings. During the 3 years post intervention, adherence to the educational program's recommendations remained high. In a study that further supported the need to educate health care workers on the benefits of hand washing, after frequent exposure to hand hygiene posters, 75% of neonatal health care workers believed that they could improve their hand hygiene practices and 74% attributed half of the hospital's infections to poor hand hygiene.

Positive beliefs about the effectiveness of hand washing greatly increased compliance with appropriate hygiene practices. Individual normative beliefs about hand hygiene are largely influenced by community attitudes within the hospital setting. In 2005, the World Health Organization launched “Clean Care is Safer Care” in an effort to reduce ...
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