The short-term and long-term effectiveness of a multidisciplinary hand hygiene improvement program

Am J Infect Control. 2012 Oct;40(8):732-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.09.009. Epub 2012 Jan 30.


Background: Although hand hygiene (HH) compliance has been an important issue for years, the compliance rate is still a problem in health care today.

Methods: This was an observational, prospective, before-and-after study. We measured HH knowledge and HH compliance before (baseline), directly after (poststrategy), and 6 months after the performance of HH team strategies (follow-up). The study was composed of employed nurses and physicians working in the department of internal medicine of a university hospital. We performed a multifaceted improvement program including HH education, feedback, reminders, social influence activities including the use of role models, and improvement of HH facilities.

Results: Ninety-two nurses and physicians were included. Compared with baseline, there was a significant improvement in the overall mean HH knowledge score at poststrategy (from 7.4 to 8.4) and follow-up (from 7.4 to 8.3). The overall HH compliance was 27% at baseline, 83% at poststrategy, and 75% at follow-up. At baseline, the compliance rate was 17% in nurses and 43% in physicians and significantly improved to 63% in nurses and 91% in physicians at follow-up.

Conclusion: Our multifaceted HH improvement program resulted in a sustained improvement of HH knowledge and compliance in nurses as well as physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies