Clinical Study Shows Spray-on Hand Sanitizer Can Help Fight HAIs

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Amid the recent daily barrage of media coverage about the spread of deadly, drug-resistant staph germs from hospital wards to schools, offices and locker rooms, a simple but disturbing fact has emerged: according to public health experts, the most effective deterrent against these superbugs is proper hand washing; yet, compliance with hand hygiene standards by most healthcare workers is appallingly low.

Now, the ongoing battle against hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) has taken a turn as a new clinical study of hand hygiene behavior among healthcare workers demonstrated that Guardian® Plus, a hand sanitizer packaged in a spray dispenser, achieved outstanding rates of satisfaction and feasibility.

The study, conducted at a major South Florida hospital, was spearheaded by researchers Denise M. Korniewicz, PhD, RN, and Jeanne H. Siegel, PhD(c), ARNP, of the University of Miami.

The investigators found that 82 percent of the healthcare workers (HCWs) studied responded positively regarding the products ease of operation, frequency of use and overall satisfaction. Demand for Guardian® Plus increased 50 percent during the 12-week study, and 75 percent of the participants indicated they would continue using the product afterward.

Participants also showed a strong preference for Guardian® Plus over other alcohol-based hand sanitizers and conventional antibacterial soaps, including wall-mounted dispensers. Several workers cited the convenience of having the small, one-ounce spray dispensers always at hand, either clipped  to a pocket or hung around the neck for ready access. The hand sanitizers were supplied by Packaging Concepts Assoc., LLC, the developer and manufacturer of Guardian® Plus and other innovative spray packages.

The study, An Interventional Study to Determine Pre/Post Procedure Hand Hygiene Compliance During Routine Clinical Practice, indicated that a product such as Guardian® Plus would be an indispensable component of a comprehensive infection-control behavior modification program that included increased training and surveillance in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

Developed specifically for intensive, long-term use, Guardian® Plus is a light, waterless liquid spray that is designed to kill 99.99 percent of bacteria, dries quickly, and leaves skin soft and moisturized with Vitamin E and other emollients. Active ingredients include 65 percent ethyl alcohol and 0.3 percent triclosan. The Guardian® Plus spray dispensers used in the study feature leak-proof, twist-lock actuators that allow easy, one-hand operation. Each non-aerosol directional sprayer delivers 120 metered doses.

Although conscientious handwashing and sanitizing by nurses and other healthcare staff remains the most effective strategy for combating the spread of these infections, the Korniewicz study cited a general lack of compliance by these workers with hand hygiene protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These initial benchmarks were in line with numerous other studies, as well as the general consensus among public health officials.

After directly observing 623 clinical procedures, including vital signs, blood drawing, intravenous medication administration, oral medications and bed linen changes, the researchers concluded that workers followed handwashing rules mainly during procedures involving high risk of contact with blood-borne pathogens and other infectious materials.

Jack Leitman, president of Packaging Concepts Assoc., said, Based on the high rates of satisfaction and feasibility proven by this hand-hygiene study, Guardian® Plus can play a major role as the foundation of an effective infection-control training and behavior-modification program for healthcare organizations concerned about the spread of infectious diseases within their walls and beyond. The recent high-profile tragic events underline the need for these programs more than ever. Better handwashing practices would certainly lead to better patient outcomes for most procedures; reduced mortality rates; decreased liability and insurance risks and costs; higher rankings by rating agencies; a stronger reputation within local communities and professional circles; and noticeable increases in worker satisfaction and compliance with healthcare standards in general.

Source: Packaging Concepts Assoc., LLC