Hand-Rub Products Improve Hospital Hygiene

Easy access to rubs, especially gel-based products, leads to higher rates of hand hygiene

THURSDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital health care workers who have easy access to alcohol-based hand rubs, either liquid or gel, are more likely to follow hand hygiene recommendations, according to research published May 3 in Critical Care.

Didier Pittet, M.D., of the University of Geneva Hospitals in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues studied 102 health care workers in an intensive care unit who were provided with a liquid-based hand rub for several months and then were provided with a gel-based hand rub.

Overall, the researchers found that compliance was higher among nurses and nursing assistants (39.1 percent and 31.1 percent, respectively) than among physicians and other health care workers (27.1 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively). They also found that easy access to hand rubs improved compliance from 35.2 percent to 50.6 percent, and that compliance increased the most, from 32 percent to 41 percent, after the gel was introduced. More than half of the workers said they preferred the gel to the liquid formulation.

"This is the first study to compare the use of an alcohol-based liquid versus a gel formulation on hand hygiene compliance in daily patient care," the authors write. "The gel was associated with better skin condition, superior acceptance, and a trend toward improved compliance as compared to the liquid formulation."

The study was conducted as part of a quality initiative project and no external funding was provided.

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