Background: Hand hygiene (HH) is the most effective way to prevent health care-associated infections and the spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. The aim of our study was to assess the existing HH resources and current HH practices at 2 hospitals in Athens, Greece.
Methods: Observational HH data and an inventory of HH resources were collected from 13 wards including medical/surgical, oncology/transplant and intensive care units, during 65, 1-hour observations periods.
Results: A total of 1271 HH opportunities were observed during the study period, including 944 of Health Care Workers (HCW) and 327 of visitors and parents. The nursing HH compliance was highest (49%) followed by medical compliance (24%, P < 0.001). HCW HH compliance was highest in intensive care units and the transplant unit (64–87%). The rate of appropriate HH for HCW was 22.6%. HCW most commonly used soap and water (76.1%). The HH procedure was more likely to be appropriate when soap and water were used as compared with alcohol based hand rub (64.6% and 47.5%, P = 0.006). A marginally significant association was identified between the HH compliance rate and the number of alcohol based hand rub dispensers per room (P = 0.057). In visitors and parents, the HH compliance was found to be 19%, whereas the rate of appropriate HH was 8.9%.
Conclusions: Low levels of HH were observed.