Effectiveness of a comprehensive hand hygiene program for reduction of infection rates in a long-term care facility

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Abstract

Background:

Alcohol-based hand rubs play a key role in reducing the transmission of pathogens in acute care settings, especially as part of a comprehensive hand hygiene program. However, their use in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) has been virtually unstudied.

Methods:

Infection data, including those meeting McGeer et al and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority's surveillance definitions, for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs), as well as hospitalization data were collected in a 174-bed LTCF for 22 months (May 2009 to February 2011). In March 2010, a comprehensive hand hygiene program including increased product availability, education for health care personnel (HCP) and residents, and an observation tool to monitor compliance, was implemented.

Results:

Infection rates for LRTIs were reduced from 0.97 to 0.53 infections per 1,000 resident-days (P = .01) following the intervention, a statistically significant decline. Infection rates for SSTIs were reduced from 0.30 to 0.25 infections per 1,000 resident-days (P = .65). A 54% compliance rate was observed among HCP.

Conclusion:

This study demonstrates that the use of alcohol-based hand rubs, as part of a comprehensive hand hygiene program for HCP and residents, can decrease infection rates in LTCFs.

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