Discrepancy Between Self-Reported and Observed Hand Hygiene in Nurses, Physicians

One of the most effective methods to promote healthcare workers hand hygiene (HH) is observation; an investigation of perceptions concerning hand hygiene further increases effectiveness, points out a researcher from the Department of Infection Control at Okayama University Hospital in Okayama, Japan.

Data were collected at a university hospital in Japan. Nurses and physicians perceptions regarding their own HH adherence were measured using an anonymous questionnaire based on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Five Moments for Hand Hygiene. The respondents were asked about their HH adherence in each of the five situations, and the responses were made using a five-point scale (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%). For the analysis, these data were converted into points (0, 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Observations were performed in 17 ordinal wards and four intensive care units.

A total of 137 questionnaires were returned from 126 nurses and 11 physicians. The nurses' mean self-reported HH adherence scores for before touching a patient, after touching a patient, after touching a patients surroundings, before an aseptic/clean procedure, and after a risk of body fluid exposure were 2.59, 3.02, 2.25, 3.63, and 3.72, respectively, while the physicians mean scores were 3.27, 3.45, 2.64, 3.91, and 3.91, respectively.   The observed nurses adherences were 62.0%, 72.8%, 43.0%, 70.8%, and 87.4%, respectively, while the physicians adherences were 25.4%, 52.8%, 42.9%, 34.8%, and 96.5%, respectively. Seventy-three percent of the HH failures among physicians before the performance of an aseptic/clean procedure were due to glove use.

Reference: T Watanabe. Discrepancy between self-reported and observed hand hygiene behavior in nurses and physicians. Presentation at the International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control. BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P120doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P120.