Interventions to improve compliance with hand hygiene practices

Citation: Gould DJ, Moralejo D, Drey N, Chudleigh JH, Taljaard M. Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in patient care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017; (9): CD005186.

What is this? The arrival of a new respiratory virus, such as COVID-19, is followed by a lead-time for the development of vaccines and treatments, and these may have a limited effect in containing or interrupting spread of the virus. Therefore, identifying and ensuring good practice in, for example, hand hygiene is important for interrupting or reducing its spread.

In this Cochrane systematic review, the authors searched for comparative effectiveness studies (randomized and non-randomized trials, controlled before-after studies and interrupted time series analysis) of interventions to improve the compliance of healthcare workers with hand hygiene practice. They did not restrict by language of publication and conducted their most recent searches in October 2016, identifying 26 eligible studies.

What works: Multimodal interventions using some or all of the WHO recommended strategies (alcohol based hand rub at point of care or carried by the healthcare worker, training and education, observation and performance feedback, reminders (e.g. posters) and administrative support) might slightly improve hand hygiene compliance and, in some cases, infection rates.

Introducing performance feedback, education or cues may improve hand hygiene compliance and reduce infection rates and colonization rates.

Placement of alcohol based hand rub close to point of use may improve hand hygiene compliance.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Whether many of the interventions have effects on infection rates is unclear.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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