Feasibility: An important but neglected issue in patient hand hygiene

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Patient hand hygiene may be a useful strategy to prevent acquisition of pathogens and to reduce the risk for transmission by colonized patients. Several studies demonstrate that patients and long-term-care facility (LTCF) residents may have difficulty using hand hygiene products that are provided; however, none of them measure feasibility for patients to use different hand hygiene products.


A convenience sample of 42 hospitalized patients and 46 LTCF residents was assessed for their ability to use 3 hand sanitizer products (8-oz pushdown pump bottle, 2-oz pocket-sized bottle with a reclosable lid, and alcohol-impregnated hand wipes). The time (seconds) required for accessing each product was compared among acute-care patients and LTCF residents. Participants provided feedback on which product they preferred and found easiest to use.


Of 88 participants, 86 (97.7%) preferred the pushdown pump, 2 (2.3%) preferred the bottle with the reclosable lid, and none preferred the hand wipes. For both hospitalized patients and LTCF residents, the average time required to access the pushdown pump was significantly less than the time required to access the other products (pushdown pump, 0.45 seconds; bottle with reclosable lid, 3.86 seconds; and wipes, 5.66 seconds; P < .001).


Feasibility and ease of use should be considered in the selection of hand hygiene products for patients and LTCF residents.

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