Hand hygiene compliance improved dramatically at five Swiss hospitals following an 18-month multi-strategy programme aimed at improving procedures.
A suite of changes were introduced at the five hospitals in 14 locations across Switzerland in a bid to improve hand hygiene. For example, staff were given better access to alcohol-based hand rubs and enhanced education on the importance of hand hygiene.
Performance measurement and feedback analysis were used to drive change while healthcare workers received hand-hygiene prompts and reminders. And leadership engagement plus a focus on safety culture were among other strategies employed.
Researchers looked at 59,272 hand hygiene opportunities during the course of the study period. At the end of the 18 months it was found that hand hygiene compliance had improved from 61.9 per cent to 88.3 per cent across the board. The compliance figure was then sustained at 88.9 per cent for a full year after the intervention.
The greatest change in behaviour was noted among physiotherapy staff whose hand hygiene compliance increased from 50 per cent to 90 per cent. Those healthcare workers found to be least likely to wash their hands were X-ray technicians whose compliance rates improved from 45 per cent to 80 per cent after the study.
Results of the Hand Hygiene Breakthrough Collaborative were published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.