Evaluation of hand hygiene adherence in a tertiary hospital

Ana M. Novoa, Teresa Pi-Sunyer, Maria Sala, Eduard Molins, Xavier Castells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although hand hygiene is the most important measure in the prevention of nosocomial infection, adherence to recommendations among health care workers (HCW) is low. Evaluation of compliance with hand hygiene was carried out in a Spanish teaching hospital. Methods: In 2005, adherence to hand hygiene was evaluated hospital wide through direct observation, collecting data on hand hygiene carried out whenever indicated (opportunity for hand hygiene). Compliance was defined as handwashing/disinfection in an opportunity for hand hygiene according to hospital protocols. The results were analyzed using mixed effects models, with the HCW observed as the random effect. Results: A total of 1254 opportunities for hand hygiene were observed in 247 HCWs. Mean compliance was 20%. Although few differences were observed among types of HCW, compliance varied according to hospital area (69% in the intensive care unit [ICU]) and timing with respect to patient contact (compliance after contact was twice that before contact). Multivariate analyses revealed a protective odds ratio (OR) for nonadherence in ICUs (OR, 0.04; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.01-0.10) and after patient contact (OR, 0.25; 95% CI: 0.17-0.38). Conclusion: Low adherence observed suggests that new interventions should focus in modification of HCWs' habits and attitudes, working at several levels: individual and institutional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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