Researchers Test Real-World Experience with WHO Hand Hygiene Protocol

Optimizing user satisfaction with alcohol-based handrubs (ABHR) may be vital to enhance hand hygiene performance. Wolfensberger, et al. (2015) report on their study in which they tested the tolerability and acceptability of a new ABHR in healthcare workers under daily working conditions and evaluated the practicability of the corresponding WHO protocol.

The researchers strictly applied the WHO single product ABHR evaluation protocol. A trained observer assessed hand skin conditions of healthy volunteers using at least 30 ml ABHR per day during their clinical work at baseline, day 3–5 and one month (visit 1–3). Participants rated ABHR tolerability and acceptability at visit 2 and 3. Additionally, the researchers registered study time for participants and the study team.

Among 46 volunteers, 76% were female; 37% nurses, 28% physicians. Skin was observer-rated “not” or “incidentally” dry in 64.4%, 77.8%, and 90.9% participants at visit 1, 2, and 3, respectively. EVO9 was scored =5 (progressive scale, 1–7) for appearance, intactness, moisture content, and sensation by 95.7%, 97.7%, 88.9%, and 97.8% participants at visit 3, respectively. All WHO benchmarks were exceeded except for “speed of drying” at visit 2, and “texture” at visit 2 and 3. Cumulative study time expenditure was 14 days for the observer and four days for participants.

The product was well tolerated and accepted according to the WHO single ABHR evaluation protocol with the potential for improvement for stickiness. The WHO protocol is feasible but requires considerable time and logistics. It does not preclude bias, in this case especially due to the necessary switch to personal dispensers. Their research was published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Reference: Wolfensberger A, Durisch N, Mertin J, Ajdler-Schaeffler E and Sax  H. Evaluating the tolerability and acceptability of an alcohol-based hand rub – real-life experience with the WHO protocol. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2015, 4:18  doi:10.1186/s13756-015-0052-9