Hand hygiene protocols for ICU patients may reduce infection risk, study suggests

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

Hand hygiene practices for patients in the intensive care unit may be just as important for preventing infections as clinician hand hygiene, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University conducted the study, which took place within three ICUs at a tertiary care center. Researchers collected hand imprints on agar from 56 patients over a 10-week period.

Microbiologic testing revealed 16 percent of patients had at least one type of aerobic pathogenic bacteria on their hands. Of those, 7 percent harbored at least one multidrug-resistant organism, including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant Enterococci and ciprofloxacin-resistant gram-negative bacteria.

Researchers noted current best practice recommendations do not emphasize patient hand hygiene, despite growing evidence about its role in the transmission of healthcare-associated infections. Implementing infection prevention strategies that include patient hand hygiene protocols may help reduce the risk of HAIs, the authors concluded.

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