Assessing hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers in six Intensive Care Units


Introduction. Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a cause of high morbidity, disability and reduced quality of life, as well as mortality and rising costs for health systems. Preventing the HAI risk by planning and implementing effective preventive strategies is important to safeguard patient health.

Methods. The study aimed to evaluate the presence of procedures and protocols for infection control, to assess the adhesion to the different aspects of hand hygiene (HH) and hand washing technique by healthcare workers in six ICUs. An observational study was conducted in six ICUs. In each ICU, the adherence by health care workers to both hand hygiene practices and standard precautions was assessed, as well as the presence of procedures and written protocols.

Results. The findings showed that in all the involved ICUs, 73 of 142 required protocols and procedures were available. Specifically, 59 of 79 were available for general measure of risk control, 12 of 15 for hand hygiene, and 24 of 48 for standard precautions and isolation measures. Also, the results showed highly variable levels of adherence to the best hygiene practices in all the ICUs involved in the study, with compliance rates ranging from 3% to 100%, and 73 of 142 required protocols were available at the study time.

Conclusions. Overall, the involved ICUs showed low levels of adherence to best hygiene practices. This suggests the need to implement immediate strategies for infection control in the ICUs. A multidisciplinary intervention could be effective in preventing and control the HAI risk.