Hand Hygiene Knowledge Lacking Among Healthcare Workers in Long-Term Care


Researchers from the Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium report on their study of hand hygiene knowledge among healthcare workers in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). The researchers developed a questionnaire based on campaign material that was distributed by the Flemish government in order to improve hand hygiene in LTCFs.

The quiz, based on the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines contains 18 specific healthcare-related situations in which hand hygiene or wearing gloves is recommended. It was presented to a stratified sample of personnel from two LTCFs in January 2011, prior to continuing education regarding hand hygiene. Frequencies and total scores were calculated. Mann-Whitney test was used to compare scores in both LTCFs. Statistical analyses were performed using PASW Statistics 18 (SPSS, Chicago).

Eighty-one LTCF workers participated; the response was 100 percent. The mean score was 9.21 on 18 items (Standard Deviation 2.58, min. 1, max. 15) or 51 percent. No significant differences were found between the two LTCFs. Some items scored below 50 percent. These items were related to four hand hygiene indication groups: "before patient contact" (e.g. hygienic care, taking blood pressure, feeding), "after glove removal," "before a clean/aseptic procedure "(e.g. wound care and IM injections) and "in case of risk of contact with body fluids" (e.g. oral medication administration).

The researchers concluded that healthcare workers at LTCSs had gaps in hand hygiene knowledge and that their study's results indicate substantial room for improvement.

Reference: D De Wandel, D Vogelaers and S Blot. Hand hygiene knowledge in long-term care facilities (LTCFS): a multicentre pilot study.

Presentation at International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC).

BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P163

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