National multicenter study on adherence to hand hygiene of health professionals - Argentina 2021

  • Healthcare Acquired or Nosocomial Infections
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Hand Hygiene (HH) has proven to be a simple and effective measure for the control of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs). This is the first national HH cross-sectional study in Argentina. The main objective of this study was to measure the level of adherence to HH in health institutions in Argentina in the framework of the Argentina’s National Program for Epidemiology and Control of Hospital Infections (VIHDA).

Multicenter cross-sectional study conducted during May-June 2021 in 89 public and private health institutions in Argentina. 100 observations per unit were made in four types of units: Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Non-Critical Unit (UNC). The level of adherence and use of correct HH technique by shift, profession and timing of WHO HH moment was observed. The registration and analysis of data was carried out through a software designed ad hoc by the National Program for the Surveillance of Hospital Infections of Argentina.

Information was collected from 248 units: 107 ICUs, 18 PICUs, 28 NICU and 65 NCU, representing a total of 21,900 observations. There were 14,483 opportunities gained, with an adherence level of 68.64% and a use of the correct HM technique of 69.84%. Kinesiologists had the highest percentage of adherence(74.15%). Therapists were the ones who used the correct technique to a greater extent(73.69%). The lowest percentage of correct technique was found in external professionals(57.16%). The lowest percentage of adherence was observed at the time after contact with patient surroundings (56.15%).

The standard of adherence to HH shows a high percentage, similar to that presented by other countries in America. There is ample room for improvement if the training of health professionals, mainly external professionals, is reinforced and the importance of patient's environment as a means for transmission of HAIs is emphasized.

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