Hospitals don't follow best hand-hygiene practices to reduce HAIs

Although the majority of healthcare professionals surveyed say they are committed to reducing hospital-associated infections (HAI), only 30 percent are following the World Health Organization's (WHO) hand-hygiene guidelines, according to a DebMed survey announcement.

The survey, which included 400 healthcare professionals who work in patient safety and quality or infection prevention roles, indicated that most believe their organizations are taking steps to reduce patient infections through increased hand-hygiene compliance.

Ninety percent reported that they believe the WHO's Five Moments for Hand Hygiene is a higher clinical standard that helps reduce the spread of infections better than cleaning just before and after patient care, but only one in 12 have implemented the guidelines at their respective facilities, the study announcement said.

The WHO guidelines suggest that healthcare facilities--in an effort to reduce potential re-contamination and lower the number of HAIs--monitor five moments during patient care exposure:

  • before touching the patient
  • before aseptic procedures
  • after potential exposure to bodily fluids
  • after touching the patient
  • after touching the patients' surroundings

Organizations typically ask caregivers to wash their hands upon entry and exit of patient rooms. However, the study indicated that one in 20 patients contract an HAI infection, resulting in 1.7 million infections in the U.S. annually and causing 100,000 deaths. 

But a new study suggests that hospitals should also monitor the hand-hygiene practices of patients and visitors, according to Infection Control Today. The study, presented at the 2nd International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control, showed hygiene compliance following an interactive educational intervention increased by 8.5 percent compared with hand-hygiene compliance before the intervention, but there was no difference in compliance between children and their visitors.

For more:
- here's the survey announcement
- read the Infection Control Today article