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Am J Infect Control. 2007 Dec;35(10):676-83.

Evaluation of hand hygiene adherence in a tertiary hospital.

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Clinical Epidemiology Evaluation Department, Hospital del Mar, IMAS, Barcelona, Spain.



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.


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.


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).


Low adherence observed suggests that new interventions should focus in modification of HCWs' habits and attitudes, working at several levels: individual and institutional.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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