Observance of hand washing procedures performed by the medical personnel after the patient contact. Part II

Anna Garus-Pakowska 1, 2  ,  
Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Chair of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Chair of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University of Łódź, ul. Jaracza 63, 90-251, Łódź, Poland
Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2013;26(2):257–264
Objectives: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) state that adequate hand hygiene maintained by medical personnel is an indispensable prerequisite for controlling nosocomial infections. The recommendations of CDC and WHO emphasize the obligation to wash hands after each contact with a patient, after the exposure to a potentially infectious material or upon the contact with objects surrounding the patient. Materials and Methods: The study was performed by quasi-observation among the group of 188 medical staff members (nurses and physicians) working in three selected hospitals of the Łódź Province. The procedure of hand washing/disinfection performed directly after the patient contact according to the recommendations of CDC and WHO was observed. The results were subject to statistical analysis (p < 0.05). Results: During 1544 h of observations, 4101 activities requiring hand washing were recorded. The medical personnel followed the hand hygiene procedures after the patient contact in 26.4% of the situations that require hygiene according to the guidelines. The level of observance of the hand washing procedures depended significantly on the type of performed activity, profession, degree of workload, index of activity, and time of duty hours. The mean time of hand washing after patient contact was 9.2 s for physicians and 6.7 s for nurses. Conclusion: Both the level of observance of hygienic procedures after the contact with patients as well as the time of hand washing are insufficient. There is an urgent need to work out educational programs on maintaining proper hand hygiene for medical personnel.