A Point-in-Time Observational Study of Hand Washing Practices of Healthcare Workers in the North of West Bank

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Fatemah Mohammad Ass'ad Hussen
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Background: Transmission of microorganisms from the hands of health care workers is the main source of cross-infection in hospitals and can be prevented by hand washing. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the hand washing compliance of health care workers in three hospitals; Jenin governmental hospital , Al-Ittihad private hospital and Qalqilia (UNRWA) hospital. It also aimed to evaluate the associations of several factors with hand washing /hand hygiene compliance of health care workers, who work in the labor room(LR),incubator room(IR), and intensive care unit(ICU) in these hospitals. Method: A Cross sectional, point in time observational study was carried out, the study conducted during the period, September-December2009; researcher is the observer who randomly observed the health care workers during routine patient care. The target population were doctors and nurses who work in the labor room (LR), incubator room (IR), and intensive care unit (ICU), 1050 observation opportunities were collected from three hospitals; Jenin governmental hospital, Al-Ittihad private hospital and Qalqilia(UNRWA) hospital. (SPSS) were used for data analysis. Result:30.6% of the observation opportunities before patient contact use rub,22.1% use wash, 30.8% use gloves, 16.6% use nothing after patient contact 39.7% use rub, 40.9% use wash, and 19.4% use nothing. The study found that the highest compliance for hand washing before patient contact was among the practical nurses (39.7%), and hand washing compliance was worst among physician specialists (15.5%). The age of health workers who showed highest compliance was 30-40 years old. Years of experience had a negative impact on compliance rate for hand washing, shift B had the best results for hand washing compliance before patient contact, and 67.71% of the health care provider took off jewelry and kept short nails through the work. Conclusion: Noncompliance with hand washing is a substantial problem in a hospital setting. From the responses indicated by the health care workers, it becomes evident that a behavioral change is warranted. It involves a combination of education, motivation and system change.