Researchers Investigate Impact of Wearable ABHR Dispensers on Hand Hygiene Compliance

Hand hygiene (HH) compliance has been shown to be poor in studies. Improving the availability of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is a cornerstone for increasing HH compliance. In this study, Keller, et al. (2018) introduced wearable dispensers for ABHR in an emergency department (ED) well equipped with mounted ABHR dispensers and accompanied this single-modal intervention by a quasi-experimental mixed-method study. The study was performed in the ED of the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, a 950-bed tertiary teaching hospital.

During a five-week baseline period and a seven-week intervention period, the researchers observed HH compliance according to the WHO ‘Five Moments’ concept, measured ABHR consumption, and investigated perceived ABHR availability, self-reported HH compliance and knowledge of HH indications by questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent determinants for HH compliance. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted and thematically analyzed to assess barriers and facilitators for the use of the newly introduced dispensers.

Across 811 observed HH opportunities, the HH compliance for all moments was 56% (95% confidence interval (CI), 51–62%) during baseline and 64% (CI, 59–68%) during intervention period, respectively. In the multivariable analysis adjusted for sex, profession, and WHO HH moment, there was no difference in HH compliance between baseline and intervention (adjusted Odds ratio: 1.22 (0.89–1.66), p = 0.22), No significant changes were observed in consumption and perceived availability of ABHR. During intervention, 7.5% ABHR was consumed using wearable dispensers. HCP perceived wearable dispensers as unnecessary since mounted dispensers were readily accessible. Poor ergonomic design of the wearable dispenser emerged as a main barrier, especially its lid and fastening mechanism. Interviewees identified two ideal situations for wearable dispensers, HCP who accompany patients from ED to other wards, and HCP approaching a patient from a non-patient areas in the ED such as the central working station or the meeting room.

The researchers concluded that the introduction of wearable dispensers did not increase observed hand hygiene compliance or ABHR consumption in an ED already well equipped with mounted dispensers. For broader acceptance and use, wearable dispensers might benefit from an optimized ergonomic design.

Reference: Keller J, Wolfensberger A, et al. Do wearable alcohol-based handrub dispensers increase hand hygiene compliance? A mixed-methods study. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2018;7:143