Hand sanitizer use: What spots are missed most often by healthcare workers?

Healthcare workers can follow all of the World Health Organization's recommended hand hygiene steps for using alcohol-based hand rub, but still make mistakes and miss some areas of their hands, according to a study published in American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers sought to determine the quality of the hand hygiene technique of healthcare workers in real conditions. To do so, the researchers had 705 clinicians working their usual shifts use an alcohol-based hand rub with a florescent marker. The workers' hands were then viewed under a UV lamp to show the hand rub's distribution and the unrubbed hand areas.

In their examinations, the researchers viewed five areas of the workers' hands. Although all of the study participants correctly completed WHO's hand hygiene technique, they still missed some areas of the hand.

Highlighted below are each of the hand areas, listed with the average percentage of clinicians who covered the area completely with alcohol-based hand rub, starting with the area covered least often.

1. Thumbs — 37.45 percent

2. Fingertips — 44.54 percent

3. Back of hands — 46.38 percent

4. Between fingers — 74.75 percent

5. Palms — 98.87 percent



More articles on hand hygiene:
Patient safety tool: APIC's free hand hygiene implementation guide
10 interesting developments in hand hygiene
Apps reduce HAIs, up hand hygiene compliance

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