Implementation of directly observed patient hand hygiene for hospitalized patients by hand hygiene ambassadors in Hong Kong

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Abstract

Background:

The importance of compliance with hand hygiene by patients is increasingly recognized to prevent health care–associated infections.

Methods:

This descriptive study observed the effects of an education campaign, targeted to increase patients' self-initiated hand hygiene, and a hand hygiene ambassador-initiated directly observed hand hygiene program on patients' hand hygiene compliance in a university-affiliated hospital.

Results:

The overall audited compliance of patients' self-initiated hand hygiene was only 37.5%, with a rate of 26.9% (112/416 episodes) before meals and medications, 27.5% (19/69 episodes) after using a urinal or bedpan, and 89.7% (87/97 episodes) after attending toilet facilities. Patients referred from a residential care home for older adults had significantly lower hand hygiene compliance (P = .007). Comparatively, the overall audited compliance of ambassador-initiated directly observed hand hygiene was 97.3% (428/440 episodes), which was significantly higher than patients' self-initiated hand hygiene via a patient education program (37.5%, 218/582 episodes, P < .001).

Conclusions:

Directly observed hand hygiene can play an important role in improving compliance with hand hygiene by hospitalized patients.

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