Hand hygiene compliance in Dutch general practice offices

Nataliya Hilt, Mariëtte Lokate, Alfons OldeLoohuis, Marlies E. J. L. Hulscher, Alex W. Friedrich & Andreas Voss

Archives of Public Health Volume 78, Article number: 79 (2020)

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Hand hygiene (HH) is considered one of the most important measures to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAI). Most studies focus on HH compliance within the hospital setting, whereas little is known for the outpatient setting. The aim of this study was to evaluate compliance with HH recommendations in general practitioners (GPs) office, based on World Health Organization (WHO) guideline.

METHODS
An observational study was conducted at five Dutch GPs-practices in September 2017. We measured HH compliance through direct observation using WHO’s ‘five moments of hand hygiene’ observation tool. All observations were done by one trained professional.

RESULTS
We monitored a total of 285 HH opportunities for 30 health care workers (HCWs). The overall compliance was 37%. Hand hygiene compliance was 34, 51 and 16% for general practitioners, practice assistants, and nurses, respectively. It varies between 63% after body fluid exposure and no HH performance before-, during and after home visit of a patient (defined as moment 5). The preferred method of HH was soap and water (63%) versus 37% for alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR). The median time of disinfecting hands was 8 s (range 6–11 s) for HCWs in our study.

CONCLUSIONS
HH compliance among HCWs in Dutch GPs was found to be low, especially with regard to home visits. The WHO recommended switch from hand wash to ABHR was not implemented by the majority of HCWs in 5 observed GPs offices.

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Hand hygiene compliance in Dutch general practice offices