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Hand Hygiene Program Improves Hygiene Compliance

Significant decrease seen in overall health-care-associated infection rate, linked to overall savings

FRIDAY, Aug. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Implementation of a hand hygiene program can improve compliance with hand hygiene and reduce health-care-associated infections (HAIs), according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted longitudinal analyses during 2013 to 2015 in an 853-bed hospital to examine hand hygiene compliance. A new hand hygiene program was implemented in October 2013 in all inpatient areas; the focus of the intervention was on cleaning hands upon entering and leaving patient rooms. Health care personnel were asked to make observations and provide immediate feedback to one another.

The researchers found that there was a significant increase in overall hand hygiene compliance. This correlated with a significant decrease in the overall HAI rate, with 197 fewer infections and an estimated 22 fewer deaths. These decreases correlated with overall savings of about $5 million.

“A program designed to improve hand hygiene compliance among hospital staff successfully engaged all health care personnel in monitoring and improving their own hand hygiene compliance,” the authors write. “This pursuit of excellence for hand hygiene compliance led to substantial HAI reductions hospital wide.”

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