How to guard against bad hand hygiene routines and habits

Even during the most severe COVID-19 surges, infection preventionists and health care experts wondered would the importance of hand hygiene still be appreciated when the pandemic subsides. The answer is no, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC)

Danish investigators found that hand hygiene compliance lapsed over time, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, if hospital management didn’t focus on hand hygiene and the wards stopped using performance feedback based on precise data from an automated hand hygiene monitoring system. 

Infection Preventionists should not let their guard down when it comes to monitoring hand hygiene compliance. According to the AJIC study: “we cannot assume that a pandemic will change the attitudes of most healthcare workers when it comes to hand hygiene.”

The authors conclude: “This study demonstrates that healthcare workers fall back into old hand hygiene routines once improvement initiatives stop. Focus on management and ongoing improvement initiatives are crucial to ensure a constant high hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers, even during a pandemic.”

You can read the complete study here

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