Hand hygiene in pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit patients: daily opportunities and indication- and profession-specific analyses of compliance

Am J Infect Control. 2011 Nov;39(9):732-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2010.12.020. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Background: Hand hygiene is considered to be the single most effective tool to prevent health care-associated infections. Daily hand hygiene opportunities and compliance for pediatric/neonatal intensive care units (ICU) are currently unknown.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study in pediatric and neonatal ICU patients with analyses of hand hygiene behavior in relation to profession, indication, and shift and correlation with disinfectant usage.

Results: Hand hygiene opportunities were significantly higher for pediatric (321/24 hours) than neonatal (194/24 hours; P = .024) patients. Observed compliance rates were 53% (pediatric) and 61% (neonatal) and found to be significantly higher in nurses (57%; 66%) than in physicians (29%, 52%, respectively; P < .001; P = .017, respectively). For neonates, compliance rates were significantly higher before patient contact and aseptic tasks (78%) than after patient, patient body fluid, or patients' surrounding contact (57%; P < .001). Calculating disinfectant usage revealed a 3-fold lower compliance rate of 17%.

Conclusion: This study provides the first data on opportunities for and compliance with hand hygiene in pediatric/neonatal patients encompassing the whole day and night activities and including a comparison of observed and calculated compliance rates. Observation revealed high compliance especially in nurses and in situations of greatest impact. The data provide a detailed characterization of hand hygiene performance in the neonatal/pediatric ICU setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disinfectants / administration & dosage
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Prospective Studies


  • Disinfectants