Compliance with hygiene guidelines: the effect of a multimodal hygiene intervention and validation of direct observations

Am J Infect Control. 2013 May;41(5):e45-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.09.008. Epub 2013 Jan 20.


Background: Good compliance with hygiene guidelines is essential to prevent bacterial transmission and health care-associated infections. However, the compliance is usually <50%.

Methods: A multimodal and multidisciplinary hygiene intervention was launched once the baseline compliance was determined through direct observations in 4 departments of obstetrics and gynecology. Detailed evaluations of the compliance rates were performed at point of stability (at 80%) and follow-up (3 years after hygiene intervention). Validation of direct observations was performed using blinded double appraisal and multiappraisal.

Results: At baseline, the compliance with barrier precautions and the dress code at the 4 departments were 39% to 47% and 79% to 98%, respectively. Point of stability was reached approximately 1 year after the hygiene intervention was launched. The compliance with barrier precautions was significantly higher at follow-up compared with baseline in 3 departments. In the validation by double appraisal, 471 of 483 components were judged identical between observers. In the multiappraisal, 95% to 100% of the observers correctly judged the 7 components.

Conclusion: It is possible to improve compliance with hygiene guidelines, but, to ensure a long-lasting effect, a continuous focus on barrier precautions is required. Observation is a valid method to monitor compliance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards*
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / standards
  • Personnel, Hospital / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Protective Clothing