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Am J Infect Control. 2013 May;41(5):e45-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.09.008. Epub 2013 Jan 20.

Compliance with hygiene guidelines: the effect of a multimodal hygiene intervention and validation of direct observations.

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Clinical Microbiology, Division of Medical Services, Jönköping, Sweden.



Good compliance with hygiene guidelines is essential to prevent bacterial transmission and health care-associated infections. However, the compliance is usually <50%.


A multimodal and multidisciplinary hygiene intervention was launched once the baseline compliance was determined through direct observations in 4 departments of obstetrics and gynecology. Detailed evaluations of the compliance rates were performed at point of stability (at 80%) and follow-up (3 years after hygiene intervention). Validation of direct observations was performed using blinded double appraisal and multiappraisal.


At baseline, the compliance with barrier precautions and the dress code at the 4 departments were 39% to 47% and 79% to 98%, respectively. Point of stability was reached approximately 1 year after the hygiene intervention was launched. The compliance with barrier precautions was significantly higher at follow-up compared with baseline in 3 departments. In the validation by double appraisal, 471 of 483 components were judged identical between observers. In the multiappraisal, 95% to 100% of the observers correctly judged the 7 components.


It is possible to improve compliance with hygiene guidelines, but, to ensure a long-lasting effect, a continuous focus on barrier precautions is required. Observation is a valid method to monitor compliance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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