Compliance falls shortest on WHO's fifth moment of hand hygiene: 3 study findings

Of the World Health Organization's Five Moments for Hand Hygiene, compliance tends to be lowest on the final step, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The Five Moments for Hand Hygiene defines five key times healthcare personnel should wash their hands: before touching a patient, before performing a clean or antiseptic procedure, after bodily fluid exposure risk, after touching a patient and after touching a patient's surroundings.

The study on hand hygiene compliance was conducted in the U.K. using both observation and a focus-group informed questionnaire. All total, 484 participants were observed and 410 returned a completed post-observation survey.

The study found:

1. Compliance with the fifth moment for hand hygiene — after touching a patient's surroundings — was lowest of the five moments. Roughly 93 percent of participants performed hand hygiene following the fifth moment and compliance varied between regions studied, but not by professional group.

2. More than 65 percent of the respondents said on the questionnaire that the fifth moment was clearly defined, achievable, valuable, encouraged and widely known. However, 60 percent also argued that it is repetitive.

3. There was a positive association between the performance of hand hygiene following the fifth moment and the perception that the final step was widely known.

"Interventions to improve compliance with the fifth moment should focus on promoting awareness of the fifth moment and how it should be implemented in practice," concluded the study authors. "Mechanisms for raising awareness should include education and role modeling."



More articles on hand hygiene:
The eyes have it: Using visual stimuli boosts hand hygiene compliance
CDC Foundation, GOJO partner for hand hygiene education tools
Infection prevention in 2016: 10 key areas of focus

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