Hand hygiene procedures followed one third of the time

Each year, an estimated 2.5 million patients in the U.S. develop healthcare-associated infections that result in 90,000 deaths and cost the healthcare system an estimated $4.5 to $5.7 billion dollars. Practices that reduce hand-to-hand or hand-to-skin contamination, including the use of hand sanitizers, hand washing and using gloves, are considered the most effective way to decrease the risk of healthcare-associated infections.

Key findings from a study in Applied Nursing Research that examined hand hygiene practices before and after procedures in an oncology hospital:

  • Overall compliance with hand hygiene guidelines was only 34.3%
  • 72% followed guidelines after procedures
  • 41.7% followed guidelines before procedures
  • Compliance was higher in high-risk procedures or when the provider was exposed to blood

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisoryboard.com, June 4, 2010; Applied Nursing Research, http://www.appliednursingresearch.org, May 2010)