Hand hygiene practices ignored 37% of the time in outpatient facilities: 4 key insights

Staff members at outpatient care facilities do not follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the New Mexico Health Department conducted a cross-sectional study of 15 geographically-dispersed outpatient facilities during the summer of 2014. Medical students assessed infection prevention policies and practices at the facilities. Each student was asked to observe 10 injections and 20 hand hygiene opportunities at their assigned outpatient practice.

Here are four insights:

1. Medical student interviews with outpatient facility staff showed that 93 percent of recommended policies were in place across the 15 facilities.

2. However, when the medical students observed behaviors, the students noted only 63 percent compliance with recommended hand hygiene practices and 66 percent compliance with safe injection practices.

3. In 37 percent of hand hygiene observations, no hand hygiene was performed.

4. During the 330 hand hygiene observations, students reported hand hygiene supplies were available 100 percent of the time.

"These findings support the need for ongoing infection prevention quality improvement initiatives in outpatient settings," the study authors noted.

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