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Compliance with Hand Hygiene Guidelines: Where are we in 2008?

Haas, Janet P. DNSc, RN, CIC; Larson, Elaine L. PhD, RN, CIC, FAAN

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: August 2008 - Volume 108 - Issue 8 - p 40–44
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000330260.76229.71

It has long been known that hand hygiene among health care workers plays a central role in preventing the transmission of infectious agents. But despite a Joint Commission requirement that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hand hygiene guidelines be implemented in hospitals, compliance among health care workers remains low. The authors argue that hospitals may best improve compliance by assessing the barriers to it, measuring the rates of compliance, educating staff on the importance of hand hygiene, making sanitizing products more available for staff use, and holding staff accountable. The authors emphasize as well that lasting improvement in hand hygiene is a collaborative effort that depends on the committed support of hospital administrators.

It's 2008. Why are there still barriers to compliance?

Janet P. Haas is the associate director of infection prevention and control at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY. She once received an unrestricted educational grant from GOJO Industries, a manufacturer of alcohol-based sanitizers, which are mentioned in this article. Elaine L. Larson is associate dean of research at the Columbia University School of Nursing, New York City.

She is the scientific advisor to the Joint Commission's Consensus Measurement in Hand Hygiene project, which is partially funded by GOJO Industries. In the past, she received funding from GOJO Industries for a comparative study of hand-sanitizer dispensers and from 3M for a study of an alcohol-based sanitizer (Avagard) it produces.

The authors have disclosed no other significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity. Contact author: Janet P. Haas,

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.