Researchers Examine Use of Hand Hygiene Agents as a Surrogate Marker of Compliance


Hand hygiene practice is an important measure for preventing infections in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). However, low compliance with hand hygiene has been reported in a number of studies. The purpose of this study by Szabó, et al. (2015) was to provide an overview of the first reference data collected on alcohol-based handrub (ABHR) and antiseptic soap consumption as surrogate markers for hand hygiene compliance by healthcare workers (HCWs) in Hungarian LTCFs. The objective was to inform stakeholders on the need of hand hygiene improvement in these settings.

Between May 5 and Sept. 30, 2014, the researchers conducted a nationwide, cross-sectional survey using a standardized self-administered questionnaire; all Hungarian LTCFs were eligible. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 was used for data analysis.

The questionnaire was completed by 354 LTCFs, representing 24 percent of all Hungarian LTCFs. In total, the median consumption of ABHR and antimicrobial soap was 15.5 L (IQR, 0–800 L) and 60 L (IQR, 0–1,680 L) per LTCFs, and 2.2 mL (IQR, 0.4–9.1 mL) and 12.1 mL (IQR, 0.7–32.8 mL) per HCWs in 2013, respectively. The estimated number of hand hygiene actions was 0.6 hygienic handrub/HCW per day (IQR, 0–12.8/HCWs) and 2.4 hygienic handwashing/HCW per day (IQR, 0–21.9/HCWs; P = .001), respectively.

This study suggests that non-compliance with hand hygiene is a significant problem in Hungarian LTCFs. Based on the researchers' results, there is an urgent need for a nationwide multi-modal hand hygiene promotion strategy including education and performance monitoring and feedback in all LTCFs. Furthermore, monitoring of ABHR consumption constitute an additional component of the existing National Nosocomial Surveillance system. Their research was published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Reference: Szabó R, Morvai J, Bellissimo-Rodrigues F and Pittet D. Use of hand hygiene agents as a surrogate marker of compliance in Hungarian long-term care facilities: first nationwide survey. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2015, 4:32  doi:10.1186/s13756-015-0069-0

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