507. Patient Demographic Characteristics and Health Care Worker Hand Hygiene Compliance
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Infection Control and Skin Hygiene
Friday, October 21, 2011
Room: Poster Hall B1
Background: Compliance with hand hygiene recommendations among health care workers (HCW) in tertiary care facilities is usually estimated at <50%. Ways to increase compliance with hand hygiene policies have received emphasis for many years. While characteristics of HCWs have been studied to assess hand hygiene compliance, to our knowledge, patient characteristics have not been studied. We aimed to measure if patient characteristics affected HCWs’ hand hygiene compliance.

Methods: A medically trained team member volunteered in the emergency room (ER) of a tertiary care facility for two months to make covert observations to assess HCW hand hygiene compliance.  The medical training and objective of the study was known only to the administrators of the ER. For each opportunity for hand hygiene action to occur, data were collected on the HCW’s sex, discipline (MD vs. nurse), and shift (night vs. day). Data were also collected on the patient’s sex, race (white, black, other), age, insurance status (insured vs. not insured), and language ability (English vs. non-English speaker). Whether hand hygiene was to occur before or after patient contact was also recorded. Logistic regression and t-tests were conducted to estimate associations with compliance for categorical and discrete data, respectively.

Results: Complete information was available for 585/656 (89.2%) patients. Overall hand hygiene compliance was observed on 358 patients (61.2%). Among HCWs, 30% were MDs and 76% were female. Patient demographic characteristics were: average age = 55 years (22-87 years), 60% female, 87% white, 8% black, 5% other race, 98.8% English speaker, and 19% not insured. Compliance was not significantly associated with HCW or patient characteristics in crude or multivariate analyses. Compliance was also not associated with whether contact occurred before or after patient contact.

Conclusion: Patient demographic characteristics did not appear to impact HCW compliance with hand hygiene recommendations. While substantial improvements need to be made in overall compliance, it is fortunate no apparent disparity was found to affect minorities or uninsured patients. Future studies should be conducted in a population with a higher distribution of non-English speakers.

Subject Category: N. Hospital-acquired and surgical infections, infection control, and health outcomes including general public health and health services research

Aaron Wendelboe, Ph.D. and Khaldoon Al-Moosawi, MBBA, MPH, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK


A. Wendelboe, None

K. Al-Moosawi, None

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EST Thursday, Oct. 20 with the exception of research findings presented at IDSA press conferences.