Hand hygiene adherence extremely low in the OR

Overall adherence to hand hygiene standards in the operating room sat at just 8.1 percent, according to a study recently published in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.

Researchers in Sweden observed hand hygiene compliance during 94 surgeries using the World Health Organization's observational tool. Observations occurred in 16 ORs serving in different surgical specialties like orthopedics, gynecology, urology and general.

They observed a total of 2,393 hand hygiene opportunities, and the overall adherence to hand hygiene was 8.1 percent. Lowest adherence was during the induction phase before an aseptic task (2.2 percent) and the highest adherence was during full-length surgeries after body fluid exposure (15.9 percent).

"There is compelling evidence for low adherence to hand hygiene guidelines in the operating room and thus an urgent need for effective improvement strategies," the study authors concluded. They provided the following two suggestions to improve hand hygiene compliance in the OR:

  1. Education and personal training in how to carry out hand hygiene and use gloves properly
  2. Optimize work processes to make hand hygiene adherence easier in the OR

More articles on hand hygiene:
Hospital executives identify strategies to improve hand hygiene: 7 takeaways
Compliance with WHO's hand hygiene alcohol rub technique: 4 findings
Hand hygiene in 2015: Embrace the new number

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