European Cleaning reports that a US hospital study has revealed that while healthcare hand hygiene compliance soared early on in the pandemic, it fell back to pre-pandemic levels after just four months.
The University of Chicago Medical Centre used an automated hand hygiene monitoring system to track how often staff washed their hands or used sanitiser when entering and exiting a patient’s room between September 2019 and August 2020. Compliance trends were then analysed by researchers at the hospital.
In September 2019, baseline monthly hand hygiene compliance levelled out at 54.5 per cent across all units, peaking at 75.5 per cent. On March 29, 2020 – when anxiety about the pandemic was running high – hand hygiene compliance hit a daily peak of 92.8 per cent across all hospital units. And it hit 100 per cent across those units that were temporarily given over for the exclusive use of COVID-19 patients.
However just four months later in August 2020, monthly compliance levels had dropped back to 56 per cent, researchers found.
The results of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, considered various factors that may have contributed to the March 2020 jump in compliance including staff members’ increased awareness of the importance of hand washing during the pandemic.