Compliance of hand washing practices: theory versus practice

L Roberts, P Bolton, S Asman
Australian Health Review: a Publication of the Australian Hospital Association 1998, 21 (4): 238-44
Hand washing remains an important preventative method for making the transmission of nosocomial infections redundant. Despite awareness by health workers of the practices required and of the legislation governing hand washing, the study reported here found that compliance to these procedures was quite poor. The results of two surveys distributed to health workers and direct observation by clinical staff in an aged care hospital found that 45% of health workers did not wash their hands and 24% did not change their gloves between patient consultation. Methods for increasing effective hand washing in clinical settings must be identified if hygienic practice is to be improved.

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