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Nearly 97 percent of health professionals wash their hands when patients are asked to watch: Study
Date:3/31/2014

TORONTO, ON, March 31, 2014 -- Improving hand hygiene compliance by healthcare professionals is no easy task, but a first-of-its-kind Canadian study by researchers at Women's College Hospital shows simply asking patients to audit their healthcare professional is yielding high marks.

The study, published in the April edition of the American Journal of Infection Control, details the findings of an 11-month pilot project looking at an alternative method of hand hygiene auditing using the patient-as-observer approach. In this method, patients observe and record hand hygiene compliance of their healthcare providers via a survey distributed before their interaction with their healthcare provider. It is believed Women's College Hospital is the first Canadian outpatient hospital using this method.

"Involving patients as the monitors of their healthcare providers' hand hygiene seems like an obvious, simple choice, and yet, most hospitals in Canada don't use this method; many opt for the often costly and time consuming alternatives such as having their colleagues monitor and audit," said Jessica Ng, one of the leading authors of the study and manager of infection prevention and control at Women's College Hospital.

In the pilot project, patients were asked to voluntarily observe the hand hygiene practices of their healthcare providers during their visit and record their findings anonymously on a survey card given to them by a hospital volunteer. They cards were returned back to the volunteer on their way out. Physicians, residents and staff were aware of the pilot through staff meetings, fact sheet distribution, and monthly progress meetings and reports.

"We not only gathered the healthcare provider hand hygiene compliance data through patient observers, but also encouraged and empowered patients to be more engaged in their care by directly involving them in auditing," said Ng.

The pilot project, conducted between A
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Contact: Magda Stec
magda.stec@wchospital.ca
416-323-6400 x3210
Women's College Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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