Effect of a multifaceted intervention on adherence to hand hygiene among healthcare workers: a cluster-randomized trial

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2010 Nov;31(11):1170-6. doi: 10.1086/656592.


Objectives: Adherence to hand hygiene among healthcare workers (HCWs) is widely believed to be a key factor in reducing the spread of healthcare-associated infection. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted intervention to increase rates of adherence to hand hygiene among HCWs and to assess the effect on the incidence of hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization.

Design: Cluster-randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Thirty hospital units in 3 tertiary care hospitals in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Intervention: After a 3-month baseline period of data collection, 15 units were randomly assigned to the intervention arm (with performance feedback, small-group teaching seminars, and posters) and 15 units to usual practice. Hand hygiene was observed during randomly selected 15-minute periods on each unit, and the incidence of MRSA colonization was measured using weekly surveillance specimens from June 2007 through May 2008.

Results: We found that 3,812 (48.2%) of 7,901 opportunities for hand hygiene in the intervention group resulted in adherence, compared with 3,205 (42.6%) of 7,526 opportunities in the control group (P < .001; independent t test). There was no reduction in the incidence of hospital-acquired MRSA colonization in the intervention group.

Conclusion: Among HCWs in Ontario tertiary care hospitals, the rate of adherence to hand hygiene had a statistically significant increase of 6% with a multifaceted intervention, but the incidence of MRSA colonization was not reduced.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control
  • Observation
  • Ontario