Higher nurse workloads could mean lower hand hygiene compliance

A study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, examined the association between hand hygiene compliance and nurse workloads.

Researchers correlated electronically measured hand hygiene compliance data (such as hand-rub activities) with electronically determined workload data (such as nursing time output/nursing time input) at a Switzerland-based hospital. The research team also calculated hand disinfectant use using spending records for one year.

Over the study period, the researchers performed direct observation for approximately 1,800 hand hygiene opportunities. They observed 208,184 hand-rub activities.

The study showed that electronically determined compliance ranged from 24 percent to 66 percent over the course of the study. It also shows the higher the nurses' workload, the lower the hand hygiene compliance However, hand-rub activities per patient day, hand disinfectant usage and observed compliance were not associated with workload.

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