Evaluation of a patient education model for increasing hand hygiene compliance in an inpatient rehabilitation unit

Am J Infect Control. 2004 Jun;32(4):235-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2003.10.005.


Background: Transmission of microorganisms from the hands of health care workers is the main cause of health care-acquired infections. Recent studies on bacterial contamination of hands by medical care specialty found the highest bacterial contamination on the hands of health care workers from rehabilitation units. The objective of this study is to determine the effect of a patient education model on hand hygiene (HH) compliance in a rehabilitation unit.

Methods: A 6-week pre- and post-intervention study with a 3-month follow-up using a patient education model was conducted in a 24-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit located in an acute care hospital. Thirty-five patients were enrolled in the intervention phase of the study after agreeing to ask all health care workers who had direct contact with them, "Did you wash/sanitize your hands?" Compliance with the program was measured through soap/sanitizer usage per resident-day before, during, and after the intervention.

Results: Usage increased from 5 HH per resident-day during the preintervention to 9.7 HH per resident-day during the intervention (P <.001), 6.7 HH per resident-day postintervention (6 weeks) (P <.001), and 7.0 HH per resident-day at 3 months (P <.001).

Conclusions: Patient education increased HH compliance in an inpatient rehabilitation unit by 94% during the 6-week intervention, 34% during the 6 week post intervention, and 40% at 3-month follow-up. This program empowers patients with responsibility for their own care and provides ongoing HH education.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / education*
  • Infection Control*
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Probability
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rehabilitation Centers