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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International: Researchers Study Hand Washing in Healthcare Setting

In clinical settings and hospitals, handwashing is vital to ensure both patients and staff reduce the spread of healthcare-associated infections, which affect one out of every 25 hospitalized patients.

“Hand hygiene is such an important aspect of controlling the spread of infections in healthcare settings, yet compliance has been found to be below 50 percent among hospital staff,” said Dr. Adriana Jimenez, PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, who co-authored the paper with Ms. Yanet Manresa, Master of Public Health, ‘19 from Stempel College. “We also noticed that few studies addressed the role of patient hand hygiene and hypothesized that improving the availability and access to hand sanitizing wipes by the patients’ bedside would increase compliance with patient hand hygiene.”

The study, which was part of quality improvement initiatives, was conducted at two hospitals in Miami.

While both facilities have wall attached hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrance and inside of each room, the researchers wanted to understand if education or access would be more effective. In one hospital, the researchers provided additional education to nursing staff about the importance of hand hygiene, which was relayed to patients. The other hospital did not increase education but, instead, offered alcohol-based wipes on a daily base at the patients’ bedsides with additional wipes available on demand.

“Our study found that staff education was key to increasing the percentage of patients reporting that they had been educated or encouraged to keep their hands clean, but easier access was vital to the campaign,” Ms. Manresa said.

The study, “Improving patients’ hand hygiene in the acute care setting: Is staff education enough?” was published in the journal Science Direct.

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