n Medical Technology SA - Hospital acquired infections in intensive care units (ICUs) : peer reviewed original article

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-5528


The objective of this study was to assess the frequency and nature of health care worker (HCW) - patient contact in ICUs in a Bloemfontein hospital by observing the compliance and technique of hand hygiene among HCWs before and after patient contact. The nature and frequency of patient contact, the hand hygiene compliance and hand-washing techniques of HCWs were observed unobtrusively to reflect the baseline compliance according to the protocol prescribed by the infection control committee at this hospital. In addition, factors which contribute to noncompliance of hand hygiene were also investigated. The results from this study confirmed low hand hygiene compliance among HCWs. Compliance of HCWs for all hand hygiene opportunities was 40% before patient contact and 53% after patient contact. Alcohol hand rub was used in another 4% of hand hygiene opportunities before patient contacts. This study therefore suggests an effective education programme to improve hand hygiene among HCWs.

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