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Handwashing compliance: what works?



Handwashing compliance: what works?



Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 68(4): 325-9, 333-4, 336



Health care personnel--particularly physicians--do a poor job of complying with national handwashing guidelines, yet handwashing is the cornerstone of infection control. New products designed to increase compliance are available, such as automated handwashing machines, but their clinical benefits have not been fully studied. The best solution for now may be to continue awareness campaigns and education programs, ensure access to sinks and appropriate antiseptic products, and promote the use of alcohol disinfectants when handwashing is not possible. Antiseptic products are now preferred over handwashing with plain soap, which does not reliably prevent transmission of bacteria. Because 100% compliance may not be realistic, interventions that improve compliance, such as the use of alcohol sanitizing products when handwashing is not possible, may be the best solution. A number of barriers deter compliance, including lack of access to handwashing stations and lack of time. Gloves are not a substitute for handwashing because they are not fully protective.

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Accession: 046211638

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PMID: 11326812


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