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BACKGROUND: Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) still pose a major problem in inpatient care. The single most important measure for preventing HAIs is to improve adherence to hand hygiene among health care professionals.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of an innovative hands-on training to improve adherence to hygiene rules under standardized and under real life conditions.

DESIGN: Before-after controlled cohort trial to assess the feasibility of implementing an innovative hands-on training to improve hand hygiene adherence.

SETTING: Large university hospital in Germany.

PARTICIPANTS: Fifty trained nurses from three wards with an average age of 32years (±10.22years) and an average vocational experience of 6.85years (±7.54years).

METHODS: The intervention consisted of a hands-on training in the skills lab of the University of Cologne complemented by a 12-week observation period before and after the training on participating wards. The training comprised important skills with respect to hand hygiene, venipuncture, dressing changes of central venous catheters, preparation of IV infusions, and donning of gloves using sterile technique. A communication training was included to enable nurses to enforce hygiene rules in their collaboration with peers and physicians. The intervention was taught in small groups with a wide array of interactive teaching methods. It was evaluated using the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) format. Observations were conducted by a trained infection control nurse.

RESULTS: Before (after) the intervention 622 (612) occasions of hand hygiene were documented. A highly significant improvement in hygiene compliance was observed pre- and post-intervention (64.3% vs. 79.2%; p≤0.0001). The OSCE evaluation showed significant improvements in all subscales.

CONCLUSION: The developed and conducted hands-on training seems feasible and is successful in significantly improving adherence to hygiene rules under standardized and real life conditions. Whether the effect is stable over time is subject to further investigation.


Stock, S., Tebest, R., Westermann, K., Samel, C., Strohbücker, B., Stosch, C., Wenchel, H.M. and Redaèlli, M. (2015) Implementation of an innovative hands-on training to improve adherence to hygiene rules: A feasibility Study. Nurse Education Today. October 25th. .


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