Researchers Study Hand Hygiene Compliance Among Hospitalized Children and Their Visitors

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Numerous interventions have aimed to improve the hand hygiene practices of healthcare workers in healthcare settings, however little attention has been paid to patients’ and their visitors’ hand hygiene. Children specifically are vulnerable to healthcare-associated infections, and again few studies have reported on their hand hygiene compliance. The aim of a study by Lary et al (2013) was to increase children’s and their visitors’ hand hygiene compliance by an interactive educational intervention.

The study was a cluster randomized control and multi-methods intervention trial involving; baseline and post-intervention hand hygiene observations, interactive educational activities using a novel hand hygiene training aid and mobile learning technology (MLT), and questionnaires and interviews.

Hand hygiene compliance following the intervention increased by 8.5 percent (P <0.001) compared with hand hygiene compliance before the intervention. There was no difference in compliance between children and their visitors (22 percent  versus 28 percent , P= 0.051). While hand hygiene compliance varied depending on which of the five moments of hygiene undertaken (P<0.001), with highest compliance after body fluid exposure 65 percent (11/17); before patient contact 31 percent (86/93); after patient contact 22 percent (50/225) and after contact with surroundings 24 percent  (13/54). Regarding the intervention sessions, 67 percent of the training aid group and 55 percent of mobile learning technology group has strongly agreed that the session was successful at raising awareness of the importance of hand hygiene compared to 30 percent in the control group. Additionally, 86 percent of visitors strongly agreed that the training aid session has increased their child’s knowledge/understanding of when to wash hands and parts of hands that are difficult to wash compared to MLT and control group.

The researchers concluded that there was evidence of a significant increase of hand hygiene compliance of patients and visitors during and post intervention (P <0.001) and that the training session was successful at raising awareness of the importance of hand hygiene compared to the MLT and control group.

Reference: D Lary, K Hardie and J Randle. Poster presentation P166 presented at the 2nd International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC 2013): Improving children's and their visitors' hand hygiene compliance. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2013, 2(Suppl 1):P166 doi:10.1186/2047-2994-2-S1-P166

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