Comparison of hand hygiene evaluations: A literature review

Judy Tran, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Because our hands are the most common mode of transmission for bacteria causing hospital acquired infections, hand hygiene practices are the most effective method of preventing the spread of these pathogens, limiting the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections and reducing transmission of multi-drug resistant organisms. Yet, compliance rates are below 40% on the average. Objective. This culminating experience project is primarily a literature review on hand hygiene to help determine the barriers to hand hygiene compliance and offer solutions on improving these rates and to build on a hand hygiene evaluation performed during my infection control internship completed at Memorial Hermann Hospital during the fall semester of 2005. Method. A review of peer-reviewed literature using Ovid Medline, Ebsco Medline and PubMed databases using keywords: hand hygiene, hand hygiene compliance, alcohol based handrub, healthcare-associated infections, hospital-acquired infections, and infection control. Results. A total of eight hand hygiene studies are highlighted. At a children's hospital in Seattle, hand hygiene compliance rates increases from 62% to 81% after five periods of interventions. In Thailand, 26 nurses dramatically increased compliance from 6.3% to 81.2% after just 7 months of training. Automated alcohol based handrub dispensers improved compliance rates in Chicago from 36.3% to 70.1%. Using education and increased distribution of alcohol based handrubs increased hand hygiene rates from 59% to 79% for Ebnother, from 54% to 85% for Hussein and from 32% to 63% for Randle. Spartanburg Regional Medical Center increased their rates from 72.5% to 90.3%. A level III NICU achieved 100% compliance after a month long educational campaign but fell back down to its baseline rate of 89% after 3 months. Discussion. The interventions used to promote hand hygiene in the highlighted studies varied from low tech approaches such as printed materials to advanced electronic gadgets that alerted individuals automatically to perform hand hygiene. All approaches were effective and increased compliance rates. Overcoming hand hygiene barriers, receiving and accepting feedback is the key to maintaining consistently high hand hygiene adherence.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Tran, Judy, "Comparison of hand hygiene evaluations: A literature review" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467437.