Healthcare pros tune out messages to wash their hands

Pictures of eye images and messages encouraging compliance with social norms failed to improve adherence to hand hygiene protocols among healthcare professionals in a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

U.S. researchers placed three types of placards near soap and alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers in two hospital units. They placed placards with an image of eyes, a message focused on social norms or a control placard, alternating between them every 10 days. They examined hand hygiene opportunities and adherence via an electronic monitoring and feedback program.

They monitored 166 nurses and certified nursing assistants electronically over a four-month period. In total, they collected 184,172 electronic observations.

The study shows the median daily number of electronic observations was 1,471. Prior to the placard intervention, the hand hygiene adherence rate was 70 percent, and the rate did not increase after the intervention.

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