Team building may actually improve hand hygiene, study says

When clinicians on a hospital unit get along and have a positive culture, they are more likely to be compliant with hand hygiene recommendations, according to a study in the March issue of American Journal of Infection Control.

An Australian teaching hospital installed an automated hand hygiene surveillance system and started giving daily feedback to clinicians on two wards. Researchers interviewed 12 clinicians from both wards after nine months.

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"Staff from the ward with improved compliance described a socially cohesive team with a well-liked nurse unit manager who accessed daily compliance rates and worked with staff to set goals," the study's authors wrote. "This contrasted with the ward without improved compliance, whose staff described their great reluctance and discomfort to nudge each other to comply and distrust of the authenticity of the rates established with the automated system."

Hospital leaders looking to improve hand hygiene rates may be more successful if they implement change first in a unit with a cohesive team and skilled leaders, before rolling out the initiative hospitalwide, the study concluded.

"To affect change it is not sufficient to install new technology and provide daily rates," the study concludes — the proper leadership and culture need to be in place.

More articles on hand hygiene:
Peer pressure and fear of the flu can boost hand hygiene: 6 survey findings
Bedside hand hygiene improves when extra healthcare workers are present, study shows
Rethinking hand hygiene: 5 things to know about the little-known world of skin microbiota

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