Hand hygiene is considered the most effective way of preventing microbial transmission and health care–associated infections. The use of alcohol-based hand rub (AHR) is the gold standard for effective hand hygiene. AHR consumption is a valuable surrogate parameter for hand hygiene performance, and it can be easily tracked in the health care setting.
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AHR availability at the point of care ensures access to optimal agents and makes hand hygiene easier by overcoming barriers such as lack of AHR or inconvenient dispenser location.
Data on AHR consumption and availability at the point of care in European hospitals were obtained as part of the Prevention of Hospital Infections by Intervention and Training (PROHIBIT) study, a framework 7 project (FP7) funded by the European Commission. Data on AHR consumption were provided by 232 hospitals and showed a median (interquartile range) usage of 21 (9; 37) mL per patient-day (PD) at the hospital level; 66 (33; 103) mL/PD at the intensive care unit (ICU) level; and 13 (6; 25) mL/PD at the non-ICU level. Consumption varied by country and hospital type. Most ICUs (86%) had AHR available at 76% to 100% of points of care, but only about two-thirds (65%) of non-ICUs did. The availability of wall- and bed-mounted AHR dispensers was significantly associated with AHR consumption in both ICUs and non-ICUs.
The data show that further improvement in hand hygiene behaviour is needed in Europe. To what extent factors at the national, hospital and ward levels influence AHR consumption must be explored further.
Hansen, S., Schwab, F. and Gastmeier, P. (2015) Provision and consumption of alcohol-based hand rub in European hospitals. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. September 25th. [epub ahead of print].
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