Handwashing gets skipped a third of the time in outpatient healthcare

April 11, 2016, Elsevier

Despite having policies in place to prevent infections, staff at outpatient care facilities fail to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time, and for safe injection practices 33 percent of the time, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Researchers from the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Health Department conducted a cross-sectional study of 15 geographically-dispersed outpatient facilities in which medical students assessed policies and practices during the summer of 2014. Medical student interviews with outpatient facility staff indicated that 93 percent of recommended policies were in place across the 15 facilities. However, when the students observed behaviors, they noted only 63 percent compliance with recommended practices and 66 percent compliance with safe injection practices. In 37 percent of hand hygiene observations, no hand hygiene was performed.

"Despite high levels of report of hand hygiene education and observed supply availability, observations of hand hygiene and aseptic injection technique showed lack of similarly high behavior compliance," the study authors commented. "This project highlights the importance of assessing both the report of recommended infection prevention policies and practices, as well as behavior compliance through observational audits. This is critical because there have been outbreaks and infection transmission to patients reported in outpatient settings due to these types of infection prevention breaches, including transmission of hepatitis B and C."

Medical students assessed prevention policies using an outpatient infection prevention checklist developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that included 14 topic areas including administrative policies, education and training, occupational health, environment cleaning, hand hygiene, and injection safety. In addition to assessing policies via the checklist, the students evaluated injection safety and hand hygiene practices through direct observations. Each student was asked to observe 10 injections and 20 hand hygiene opportunities at their assigned outpatient practice.

Of the 163 injection safety observations, only 66 percent of the preparations complied with all of the recommended infection prevention steps, which included performing hand hygiene, disinfecting the rubber septum, using a new needle and syringe, properly discarding single-dose vials, and dating multi-dose vials upon opening. During the 330 hand hygiene observations, students reported that hand hygiene supplies were available 100 percent of the time.

"These findings highlight the need for ongoing quality improvement initiatives regarding infection prevention policies and practices in outpatient settings," conclude the authors.

Explore further: Six-step hand-washing technique found most effective for reducing bacteria

More information: Deborah Thompson et al. Using medical student observers of infection prevention, hand hygiene, and injection safety in outpatient settings: A cross-sectional survey, American Journal of Infection Control (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.11.029

Related Stories

Six-step hand-washing technique found most effective for reducing bacteria

April 8, 2016
New research demonstrates that the six-step hand-hygiene technique recommended by the World Health Organization is superior to a three-step method suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in ...

Study measures impact of education, information on hand hygiene compliance

October 29, 2013
How often do you clean your hands? A study at Rhode Island Hospital observed staff on 161,526 occasions to monitor how often they cleaned their hands (ie, hand hygiene) between July 2008 to December 2012 and found that hand ...

WHO program improves U.S. medical facility hand hygiene

March 5, 2014
(HealthDay)—For U.S. health care facilities, participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) global campaign to improve hand hygiene practices is associated with improved hand hygiene, according to a study published ...

UPMC programs to improve hand hygiene reduced infections, increased compliance

October 9, 2014
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital's infection prevention teams have improved hand washing and sanitizing compliance at the hospital to nearly 100 percent among clinical staff through accountability and educational measures. In a ...

Study finds low hand hygiene compliance rates during anesthesia administration

June 30, 2014
Anesthesia providers are missing opportunities to clean their hands during surgical procedures, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the ...

Hand hygiene lacking in many U.S. health care facilities: study

February 28, 2014
(HealthDay)—One in five U.S. health care facilities does not make alcohol-based hand sanitizer available everywhere it's needed, new research shows.

Recommended for you

Scientists uncover a factor important for Zika virus host species restriction

June 19, 2018
Princeton University researchers Qiang Ding, Alexander Ploss, and colleagues have identified one of the mechanisms by which Zika virus (ZIKV) circumvents immune control to replicate in human cells. The paper detailing this ...

Children's immune system could hold the key to preventing sepsis

June 19, 2018
Children's immune systems could hold the key to preventing life-threatening infections and sepsis, a new study has revealed.

Beware of getting a tattoo if your immune system isn't up to scratch, doctors warn

June 18, 2018
Getting a tattoo may have some unexpected complications if your immune system isn't up to scratch, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Recent clinical trial finds tamsulosin not effective in kidney stone passage

June 18, 2018
The latest research into finding medications to aid the passage of ureteral or kidney stones has shown that tamsulosin is not effective for patients across the board. Previously approved to help men experiencing enlarged ...

Research finds new way to determine protection of Men B vaccine against different strains

June 18, 2018
Researchers at the University of Leicester and Meningococcal Reference Unit have developed a new approach to assess the effectiveness of the Men B vaccine, Bexsero, against different strains that cause meningococcal meningitis ...

Novel molecular target to prevent scarring of the lung blood vessels identified

June 13, 2018
Pulmonary arterial hypertension, a severe form of cardiopulmonary disease in which the arteries that transport blood from the heart to the lungs become thickened, constricted, and scarred, is a disease for which there is ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.