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Arch Hellen Med, 33(4), July-August 2016, 639-644


Hand hygiene compliance in a Greek university hospital

E. Astrinaki,1 A. Messaritaki,1 E. Mourtou,2,3 D. Niakas3
1Infection Control Committee, Heraklion University General Hospital, Heraklion, Crete,
2Department of Informatics, General Hospital of Patras, Patras,
3Faculty of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece

OBJECTIVE To measure the hand hygiene compliance of health care workers with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in a Greek public university hospital.

METHOD The study took place in 13 medical wards of a university general hospital in May, June and July of 2014. The method used to evaluate hand hygiene compliance with the WHO "Five moments" was direct observation of the medical and nursing stuff. The observation methodology was in accordance with the WHO "Hand Hygiene Technical Reference Manual". For data collection and reporting an online web-based application, the Hand Hygiene Compliance Application was used.

RESULTS The overall hand hygiene compliance rate was 33.4% (95% CI: 31.7–35.2%). The highest compliance rates were observed in the intensive care units (ICUs), by the specialized doctors, and "after touching a patient". Hand washing was the preferred hand hygiene technique. Health care workers failed to perform hand hygiene in 70.0% of all events where glove use was recorded.

CONCLUSIONS This study revealed low hand hygiene compliance rates with WHO guidelines among the medical and nursing staff in a university general hospital. Preference for a less appropriate hand hygiene technique and the substitution of hand hygiene by glove use were also recorded. The education and training of health care workers in hand hygiene and glove use and promotion of the use of alcohol based hand rub are therefore recommended as essential activities for the improvement of hand hygiene in hospitals.

Key words: Hand hygiene, Hand hygiene compliance, Hand hygiene measurement.

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