Partners in Your Care, a patient education behavioral model for increasing handwashing compliance and empowering the patient with responsibility for their care was evaluated in an acute care hospital in Oxford, UK. A controlled prospective intervention study comparing medical and surgical patients was performed. Ninety-eight patients were eligible for the study. Thirty-nine patients (40%) agreed to participate in the programme Partners in Your Care by asking all healthcare workers who were going to have direct contact with them "Did you wash your hands?" Compliance with the programme was measured through soap/alcohol usage and handwashings per bed day before and after its introduction. Partners in Your Care increased handwashing on average 50%. Healthcare workers washed hands more often with surgical patients than with medical (P< 0.05). Alcohol gel was used on less than 1% of occasions. Sixty-two percent of patients in study felt at ease when asking healthcare workers "Did you wash your hands?" Seventy-eight percent received a positive response (washed hands). All patients asked nurses, but only 35% asked physicians. Partners in Your Care increased handwashing compliance in the UK. This programme empowers patients with responsibility for their care, provides infection control staff with a continuing means for providing handwashing education without additional staff and can save costs for a hospital.
Copyright 2001 The Hospital Infection Society.