Only 20% of healthcare workers can recall 5 hand-washing guidelines, study finds

Compliance with the World Health Organization's "My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" approach is low, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found.

Using a modified WHO hand hygiene observation form, researchers examined compliance with the five moments for hand hygiene approach at a healthcare facility from July to August 2016. They also used a 26-question survey to gather healthcare workers' knowledge and opinions on hand hygiene. They then conducted a two-round focused survey with a subgroup of healthcare workers.

The WHO's five moments to perform hand hygiene are as follows:

• Before touching a patient
• Before clean/aseptic procedures
• After body fluid exposure/risk
• After touching a patient
• After touching patient surroundings

Researchers observed 302 hand hygiene opportunities in 104 unique healthcare worker-patient interactions. They found that workers performed hand hygiene at 106 of 302 opportunities, or 35 percent of the time.

Of the 218 healthcare workers who completed the 26-question survey, 29 percent were familiar with the WHO's five hand hygiene moments, but only 21 percent were able to recall all five moments.

Additionally, in focused surveys six of 13 participants (46 percent) ranked "before aseptic procedure" as the most important hand hygiene moment, and 11 of 13 (86 percent) identified "after touching patient surroundings" as the least important. WHO does not rank the moments and considers them all "key moments" for performing hand hygiene.

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