HealthDay News — Hand hygiene compliance rates exceeded 90% during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but declined thereafter, according to a research letter published online April 26 in JAMA internal Medicine.

Sonya Makhni, MD, from the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Division, and colleagues describe changes in hand hygiene compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic as measured by an automated hand hygiene monitoring system implemented in 2015. Compliance was also examined in units temporarily converted into COVID-19 cohort units.

During the study period, 1159 inpatients with COVID-19 were admitted to the hospital, with a monthly peak in April. The researchers found that monthly hand hygiene compliance across all units was similar to the September baseline of 54.5% before the pandemic. Compliance reached a daily peak of 92.8% on March 29, 2020, across all units and 100% on March 28, 2020, across cohort units; weekly peaks were 88.4% and 98.4%  across all units and cohort units, respectively, during the week of March 29, 2020; and monthly peaks were 75.5% and 84.4% across all units and on cohort units, respectively, in April. Across all units, compliance decreased to a daily nadir of 51.5% on August 15, 2020; a weekly nadir of 55.1% the same week; and a monthly nadir for August of 56%.


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“As hospitals set hand hygiene goals, this study suggests high compliance is possible, even with automated monitoring, yet difficult to sustain,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to GOJO Industries.

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