Effect of hand sanitizer location on hand hygiene compliance

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Cure Vellojin, Laila N.
Van Enk, Richard

Cure Vellojin, Laila N.; Van Enk, Richard. 2015. Effect of hand sanitizer location on hand hygiene compliance. American Journal of Infection Control, vol. 43:no. 9, 1 September 2015:pp 917–921


Background: Hand hygiene is the most important intervention to prevent infection in hospitals. Health care workers should clean their hands at least before and after contact with patients. Hand sanitizer dispensers are important to support hand hygiene because they can be made available throughout hospital units. The aim of this study was to determine whether the usability of sanitizer dispensers correlates with compliance of staff in using the sanitizer in a hospital. This study took place in a Midwest, 404-bed, private, nonprofit community hospital with 15 inpatient care units in addition to several ambulatory units.

Methods: The usability and standardization of sanitizers in 12 participating inpatient units were evaluated. The hospital measured compliance of staff with hand hygiene as part of their quality improvement program. Data from 2010-2012 were analyzed to measure the relationship between compliance and usability using mixed-effects logistic regression models.

Results: The total usability score (P = .0046), visibility (P = .003), and accessibility of the sanitizer on entrance to the patient room (P = .00055) were statistically associated with higher observed compliance rates. Standardization alone showed no significant impact on observed compliance (P = .37).

Conclusion: Hand hygiene compliance can be influenced by visibility and accessibility of dispensers. The sanitizer location should be part of multifaceted interventions to improve hand hygiene.

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