(HealthDay News) — Health care workers are less likely to perform hand hygiene when they move from dirtier to cleaner tasks, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, held from April 13 to 16 in Amsterdam.
Nai-Chung Chang, Ph.D., from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and colleagues linked consecutive tasks that individual health care workers performed into care sequences to identify task transitions and the intervening hand hygiene moment.
The researchers found that during 34.7 and 65.4 percent of transitions, health care workers moved from cleaner tasks to dirtier tasks and from dirtier tasks to cleaner tasks, respectively. Compared with nurses, physicians and other health care workers were more likely to move from dirtier to cleaner tasks (odds ratios, 1.50 and 2.15, respectively). Glove use correlated with moving from dirtier to cleaner tasks (odds ratio, 1.22). Hand hygiene compliance was 50.8 and 42.7 percent when health care workers moved from dirtier to cleaner tasks and cleaner to dirtier tasks, respectively. Health care workers were less likely to perform hand hygiene when moving from dirtier to cleaner tasks versus cleaner to dirtier tasks in multivariable analysis (odds ratio, 0.93).
“Our findings indicate that health care workers may inadvertently increase patients’ risks for health care-associated infection by the direction in which they do tasks,” a coauthor said in a statement.