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Feedback can encourage healthcare workers to wash their hands

Category: General Health

A recent study published in PLoS One, shows that a three-year trial known as the Feedback Intervention Trial (FIT), which was conducted by researchers by the University College London (UCL) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA), showed that providing feedback to healthcare workers makes them more likely to wash their hands.

FIT was conducted in 60 different wards in 16 hospitals throughout the world. The data, which will be presented at a national hand hygiene summit on Oct. 24, revealed that when there was an intervention during which personalized feedback was used in conjunction with a personalized action plan, subjects in intensive care units washed their hands when they were supposed to 18 percent more, while subjects in acute care units practiced proper hand hygiene 13 percent more.

"This is a landmark trial, as until now there has been no randomized controlled trial evidence showing which interventions improve hand hygiene compliance in modern hospitals," said research author Sheldon Stone M.D. "It is also the first trial to use behavioral sciences to change healthcare workers hand hygiene behavior."

During the intervention, healthcare workers were observed for 20 minutes during a four-week cycle. After observation, the subjects were given feedback so they could formulate an action plan to improve their hygiene practices. The results showed that the more frequently the interventions were conducted, the more handwashing practices improved

Handwashing facts
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), washing one's hands is crucial for preventing the spread of infections and diseases, which can be detected via a lab test. Handwashing is especially important before preparing and eating food.

The source notes that handwashing process should take nearly 20 seconds and should always involve soap and warm water. If soap is not available, an alcohol-based sanitizer, containing about 60 percent alcohol is an adequate substitute.

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