Article: Original ResearchImproved Rates of Compliance with Hand Antisepsis Guidelines: A Three-Phase Observational StudyEarl, Melissa L. MPH; Jackson, Marguerite M. PhD, RN, FAAN; Rickman, Leland S. MDAuthor Information Melissa Earl is the managing director at Innovative Medical & Epidemiologic Data Solutions in Moreno Valley, CA. Marguerite Jackson is an associate clinical professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and director of the Department of Education, Development, and Research, University of California, San Diego, Medical Center. Leland Rickman is an associate clinical professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and director of the Epidemiology Unit, University of California, San Diego, Medical Center. The Kimberly-Clark Skin Wellness Institute provided funding and equipment for this study. Kimberly-Clark had no role in data collection, its analysis and interpretation, or the submission of the finished manuscript for publication. The authors have received no other consulting fees and have no financial interest in either the Kimberly-Clark Corporation or the Wellness Institute. The authors acknowledge the contributions of Louise K. Hofherr, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University. Corresponding author: Melissa L. Earl; 12625 Frederick Street, Suite 1-5 #334; Moreno Valley, CA 92553; E-mail: [email protected] American Journal of Nursing: March 2001 - Volume 101 - Issue 3 - p 26-33 Buy SDC Abstract Overview: Hand antisepsis is arguably the single most effective means of preventing and controlling nosocomial infection. Yet it's often neglected, although nosocomial infections threaten the lives of approximately two million patients in the United States annually. Among the reasons health care workers give for non-compliance are the inconvenience and time involved in traditional soap-and-water hand-washing and the drying effect this method has on skin. These three researchers sought to discover whether making hand antisepsis a quicker and more convenient process would increase compliance. This 1999 observational study, which took place on two hospital intensive care units, established a baseline rate of soap-and-water handwashing compliance, then offered health care workers an alternative: hand degerming using a rinse-free, alcohol-based gel. Such gels are relatively inexpensive, and dispensers are easy to install and use. Seventy-three gel dispensers were installed inside and outside patient rooms, and compliance was evaluated over short- and long-term periods. The ready availability of the gel resulted in a sustained increase in hand antisepsis rates among health care workers. These findings support the use of these products as a viable method of increasing rates of hand antisepsis compliance. Researchers find that alcohol-based gel contributes to ease and frequency of hand antisepsis among health care workers. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.