Link to article at PubMed

J Hosp Infect. 2021 Sep 25:S0195-6701(21)00341-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.09.016. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Healthcare worker's (HCW) hands are known to be a primary source of transmission of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Thus, practicing hand hygiene (HH) and adhering to HH guidelines are both expected to decrease the risk of transmission but there is no consensus on the optimal hand hygiene compliance (HHC) rate that HCWs should aim for.

AIM: The objective of this study was to systematically review the published literature to determine an optimal threshold of HCW HHC rate associated with the lowest incidence rate of HAIs.

METHODS: This systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. We searched online databases using a comprehensive search criterion for randomized controlled trials and non-randomized controlled studies, investigating the impact of HCW's HHC rate on HAI rates in patients of all ages, within healthcare facilities in high income countries.

FINDINGS: Of the 8,093 articles citations and abstracts screened, 35 articles were included in the review. Most studies reported overall HAIs per 1000 patient-days and device-associated HAIs per 1000 device-days. Most studies reported HHC rates between 60%-70%. Lower incidence HAI rates seemed to be achieved with HHC rates of approximately 60%. Studies included were not originally designed to assess the impact of HHC on HAI rates but risk of bias was assessed as per our predetermined exposure and outcome criterion. 11 (31%) of studies were deemed at low risk of bias.

CONCLUSIONS: Although HHC is part of HCW's code of conduct, very high HHC rates were difficult to reach. In observational studies, HHC and HAI followed a negative relationship up to about 60%. Due to flaws in study design, causality could not be inferred; only general trends could be discussed. Given the limitations, there is a need for high-quality evidence to support the implementation of specified targets of HHC rates.

PMID:34582962 | DOI:10.1016/j.jhin.2021.09.016

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