Nosocomial and hospital-related infectionsHand hygiene: improved standards and practice for hospital carePittet, DidierAuthor Information Infection Control Program, University of Geneva Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland Correspondence to Professor Didier Pittet MD MS, Director, Infection Control Program, University of Geneva Hospitals, 24 Rue Micheli-du-Crest, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland Tel: +41 22 37 29828; fax: +41 22 37 23987; e-mail: [email protected] Abbreviations HCW: healthcare worker MRSA: methicillin-resistant Staphlylococcus aureus: Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: August 2003 - Volume 16 - Issue 4 - p 327-335 Buy Abstract Purpose of review To review the most recently published literature on hand hygiene practices in healthcare settings. Recent findings Adherence with recommendations for hand hygiene remains low, but key factors of noncompliance have been identified and corrective actions proposed. Current guidelines recommend the use of alcohol-based handrub formulations as the new standard of care, thus requiring a system change in most hospitals. In addition, healthcare worker education and motivation are obviously important to modify hand hygiene behavior and must be part of multimodal strategies to enhance compliance in hospitals. Compliance improvement is associated with reduced infection rates and resistance spread. Handrub application according to recommended practices is an alternative to conventional surgical handscrubbing with antiseptic soap and water for surgical hand preparation. Summary System change must be addressed in most hospitals where alcohol-based handrubbing has not become a standard of care. Strategies to improve hand hygiene compliance must be multimodal and include staff education and motivation, the use of performance indicators, and hospital management support. Successful campaigns will result in reduced infection rates, antimicrobial resistance spread, and enhance patient safety. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.