Hand hygiene compliance: exploring variations in practice between hospitals

Sile A Creedon
Nursing Times 2008 December 9, 104 (49): 32-5

BACKGROUND: The issue of 'centre' or 'hospital' as an independent variable has not been studied extensively in healthcare workers' hand-hygiene practices.

AIM: To investigate healthcare workers' compliance with hand-hygiene guidelines in four acute-care hospitals in Ireland and to examine factors that contributed to non-compliance.

METHOD: Data collectors observed healthcare workers in four hospitals.

RESULTS: Data (n = 1,737 observations) was drawn from a random sample of nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and HCAs (n = 280 staff). Findings revealed that the individual hospital has a significant impact. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed healthcare workers in centre 4 had a significantly higher likelihood of non-compliance than those in all other centres (p = 0.003), irrespective of gender, discipline or area of work.

CONCLUSION: The findings make an important contribution to the study of healthcare workers' hand-hygiene behaviour and control of healthcare-associated infections. A possible explanation of the results may be related to variations in organisational support and hospital culture.

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