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Use of an alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene has recently been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the proper technique for using hand rub has not been well described and is not routinely taught in hospitals.
To evaluate the impact of training on proper technique as outlined by the European Standard for testing alcohol-based hand rubs (European Norm 1500) in a clinical study.
Design, Setting, and Patients.
Prospective study including 180 healthcare workers (HCWs) in a 450-bed, university-affiliated geriatric hospital where alcohol-based hand rub was introduced in the late 1970s.
Structured training program in hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub. Technique for using hand rub was tested by the addition of a fluorescent dye to the disinfectant and the number of areas missed was quantified by a validated visual assessment method. In addition, the number of bacteria eradicated was estimated by calculating the difference between the log10 number of colony-forming units (cfu) of bacteria on the fingertips before and after the procedure, and reported as reduction factor (RF).
Main Outcome Measure.
Log10 cfu bacterial counts on fingertips before and after training in the appropriate technique for using hand rub.
At baseline, only 31% of HCWs used proper technique, yielding a low RF of 1.4 log10 cfu bacterial count. Training improved HCW compliance to 74% and increased the RF to 2.2 log10 cfu bacterial count, an increase of almost 50% (P < .001). Several factors, such as applying the proper amount of hand rub, were significantly associated with the increased RF.
These results demonstrate that education on the proper technique for using hand rub, as outlined in EN 1500, can significantly increase the degree of bacterial killing.
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