Report of a Multimodal Strategy for Improvement of Hand Hygiene Compliance in a Latin American Hospital. How Far From Excellence?

J Patient Saf. 2022 Oct 1;18(7):667-673. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000982. Epub 2022 Feb 3.


Objective: The aim of the study was to report the results of a multimodal strategy for improvement of hand hygiene (HH) compliance in a third-level hospital in Mexico.

Methods: This is an epidemiological study in a public, acute care, academic, tertiary referral center from 2009 to 2019. Healthcare worker (HCW) compliance with HH was assessed after implementation of the World Health Organization multimodal strategy that included permanent and widespread access to alcohol-based hand rubs; educational activities for staff, students, patients, and relatives; reminders in healthcare areas; patient empowerment; water quality surveillance; frequent evaluation of compliance; and feedback. The primary outcome was HH compliance rate (measured by direct observation). The association of HH with healthcare-associated infections was the secondary outcome.

Results: A total of 60,685 HH opportunities were evaluated. The HH compliance rate increased significantly from 39.83% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 38.83%-40.84%) to 64.81% (95% CI = 64.08%-65.54%), mostly due to HH compliance in World Health Organization moments 3 to 5 (r = 0.86, P = 0.001). A statistically significant inverse association was found between HH compliance rates and surgical site infection rates (incidence rate ratio = 0.9977, 95% CI = 0.9957-0.9997, P = 0.029).

Conclusions: A multimodal strategy in a Latin American setting showed an increase in HH compliance over 10 years of follow-up that should nonetheless be improved. An association between HH compliance and surgical site infection rates was noticed, but this did not occur with other healthcare-associated infections; this underscores the need for a comprehensive bundled approach in their prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Hand Hygiene* / methods
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Latin America
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Tertiary Care Centers