The impact of an education program on hand hygiene compliance and nosocomial infection incidence in an urban neonatal intensive care unit: an intervention study with before and after comparison

O.K. Helder, J. Brug, C.W.N. Looman, J.B. van Goudoever, R.F. Kornelisse

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Nosocomial bloodstream infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in neonatal intensive care units. Appropriate hand hygiene is singled out as the most important measure in preventing these infections. However, hand hygiene compliance among healthcare professionals remains low despite the well-known effect on infection reduction. We studied the effectiveness of a hand hygiene education program on the incidence of nosocomial bloodstream infections. Observational study with two pretests and two posttest measurements and interrupted time series analysis. A 27 bed level IIID neonatal intensive care unit in a teaching hospital in the Netherlands. Healthcare professionals who had physical contact with very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. The study was conducted during a period of 4 years. Medical and nursing staff followed a problem-based education program on hand hygiene. Hand hygiene practices before and after the education program were compared by guided observations. The incidence of nosocomial infections in VLBW infants was compared. In addition, numbers of nosocomial bloodstream infections per day-at-risk in very low birth weight infants were analyzed by a segmented loglinear regression analysis. During 1201 observations hand hygiene compliance before patient contact increased from 65% to 88% (p <0.001). Median (interquartile range) drying time increased from 4s (4-10) to 10s (7-14) (p <0.001). The proportion of very low birth weight infants with one or more bloodstream infections and the infection rate per 1000 patient days (relative risk reduction) before and after the education program on hand hygiene intervention decreased from 44.5% to 36.1% (18.9%, p=0.03) and from 17.3% to 13.5% (22.0%, p=0.03), respectively. At the baseline the nosocomial bloodstream infections per day-at-risk decreased by +0.07% (95% CI -1.41 to +1.60) per month and decreased with -1.25% (95% CI -4.67 to +2.44) after the intervention (p=0.51). The level of instant change was -14.8% (p=0.48). The results are consistent with relevant improvement of hand hygiene practices among healthcare professionals due to an education program. Improved hand hygiene resulted in a reduction in nosocomial bloodstream infections
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1252
JournalInternational journal of nursing studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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