Observation-based evaluation of hand hygiene practices and the effects of an intervention at a public hospital cafeteria.


Background: Hand hygiene is important before meals, especially in a hospital cafeteria where patrons may have had recent contact with infectious agents. Few interventions to improve hand hygiene have had measureable success. This study was designed to use a poster intervention to encourage hand hygiene among health care workers (HCWs) and hospital visitors (HVs) upon entry to a hospital cafeteria. Methods: Over a 5-week period, a poster intervention with an accessible hand sanitizer unit was deployed to improve hand hygiene in a hospital cafeteria. The dependent variable observed was hand hygiene attempts. Study phases included a baseline, intervention, and follow-up phase, with each consisting of 3 randomized days of observation for 3 hours during lunch. Results: During the 27 hours of observation, 5,551 participants were observed, and overall hand hygiene frequency was 4.79%. Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently by HCWs than HVs (P 5 .0008) and females than males (P 5 .0281). Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently after poster introduction than baseline (P 5 .0050), and this improvement was because of an increase in frequency of HV hand hygiene rather than HCW hand hygiene. Conclusion: The poster intervention tool with easily accessible hand sanitizer can improve overall hand hygiene performance in a US hospital cafeteria.



Hand hygiene, Infectious disease, Cafeteria, Sanitizer, Poster