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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

Andreas F Widmer for the Basel infection control team

AF Widmer* and Infection control team

  • * Corresponding author: AF Widmer

Author Affiliations

Infectious disease and Hospital epidemiology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P123  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P123

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1753-6561/5/S6/P123


Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Widmer; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

Hand hygiene belongs to the basic components of any infection control program. Compliance is still an important issue, but the hand hygiene technique has gathered little attention. Proper technique of hand hygiene significantly improves bacterial killing, but few studies addressed this issue.

Methods

The University of Basel hospitals is a 900 bed tertiary care center with 5 Intensive CUs and kidney and bone marrow transplant program. After introduction of the alcoholic hand rub in 1970, hand washing has been replaced with the alcoholic hand rub in >90%. Since 2007, health care workers and medical students are routinely trained to apply the proper technique.

Results

1’030 observations were made in different wards, emergency rooms, ICUs and transplant units. Overall compliance with all 6 steps was 13.4%. The steps focusing on the fingertips and the thumb were frequently missed, namely 83-90% for nurses and 95-97% for physicians (p<0.05).

Conclusion

The compliance with hand hygiene technique requires more focus and training: the thumb and the fingertips are frequently not adequately in contact with alcohol. Several techniques have been proposed, but basic training should ensure that the fingertips and the thumb are not missed during the alcoholic rub-in.

Disclosure of interest

A. Widmer Grant/Research support from Ecolab, Switzerland, Speaker's Bureau of 3m, Switzerland.