A quarter of healthcare workers' hands contaminated with infectious germs, study says

Washing with soap and water found to be more effective than alcohol-based sanitizers for removing C. difficile

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 3, 2014

Nearly one in four healthcare workers' hands were found to be contaminated with the drug-resistant Clostridium difficile bacteria after treating infected patients, despite glove use and hand sanitizing, according to a blog on the UPI website reporting on a study published in the the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

In the study, all patients with C. diff. were being treated with the following infection control measures: patients were in single-bed rooms with dedicated equipment; workers wore gloves, disposable gowns and full length sleeves; daily room cleaning with a disinfectant; and hand hygiene was maintained using alcohol-based hand rub before wearing gloves and hand washing with medicated soap and water after removal of gloves.

Researchers found that high-risk contact contaminated workers' hands, as well when workers did not use gloves. Contamination was 42 percent among nursing assistants, who perform more high-risk care such as bathing, and 19 percent among other healthcare workers, suggesting that contamination was linked to exposure times, the blog said.

"Because C. difficile spores are so resistant and persistent to disinfection, glove use is not an absolute barrier against the contamination of healthcare workers' hands. Effective hand hygiene should be performed, even in non-outbreak settings," said Caroline Landelle, lead author of the study, in a statement.

Read the blog.




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