Impact of conducting hand hygiene audit in COVID-19 care locations of India-A large scale national multicentric study - HHAC study

Indian J Med Microbiol. 2022 Sep 30;S0255-0857(22)00159-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmmb.2022.09.002. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Hand hygiene (HH), the core element in infection prevention in healthcare, especially for multidrug resistant organism's transmission. The role of HH audits and HH adherence rates in the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in resource limited settings, are yet to be established.

Methods: A nationwide multicenter study was conducted in India, involving public, private, teaching and non-teaching COVID healthcare facilities (COVID-HCFs) using the IBhar mobile application based on WHO's hand hygiene audit tool. The HH adherence rates (HHAR) such as complete HHAR (HHCAR), total HHAR (HHTAR), profession specific HHAR, WHO's 5 HH moment specific HHAR and associated variables were measured over 6 month duration (June-December 2021).

Results: A total of 2,01,829 HH opportunities were available and the HHCAR and HHTAR were 27.3% and 59.7%. The HHTAR was significantly higher in the west zone (72.2%), private institutes (65.6%), non-teaching institutes (67.7%), nurses (61.6%), HH moments 2 (71.8%) and 3 (72.1%), and morning shift (61.4%). The HHTAR was better in non-COVID HCFs (65.4%) than COVID-HCFs (57.8%) as well as non-COVID ICUs (68.1%) than COVID ICUs (58.7%). The HHTAR was increased from month 1 to month 6 except a small decrease in the month of December.

Conclusions: The hand hygiene adherence is comparable with adherence rate during COVID-19 pandemic in western countries as well as the resource limited settings. The use of gloves during the pandemic and simplified HH techniques and their influence over the HH adherence to be studied further. The sustainable adherence rate over long duration needs to be ensured by continuing the HH audit using multimodal interventions.

Keywords: COVID ICUs; COVID-HCFs; Hand hygiene adherence rate; Non-COVID HCFs; Non-COVID ICUs.