New study finds the best hand-washing technique

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Proper hand-washing has always been a major concern for healthcare providers, but it turns out some methods are better than others.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that all physicians and nurses must complete a three-step hand-washing method after delivering patient care. However, a study published by Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology argues that the six-step hand-hygiene method suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) is actually more effective than the CDC’s three-step technique.

The study measured the bacterial count on over one hundred physicians and nurses before and after using each technique, and they found the WHO’s method more effective at reducing the bacterial count. The median bacterial count went from 3.28 to 2.58 for the six-step method compared to 3.08 to 2.88 for the CDC’s three-step technique.

The study also notes that many of the providers did not comply with the six-step technique. 35 percent of the providers did not complete the full hand hygiene protocol for the six-step method, even though instructions where provided to them as the washed their hands. Even though the six-step technique had better results, facilities should consider regular training to ensure compliance.

You can see the full press release for the study here.

For a free hand washing tool, check out Strategies for Nurse Managers’ tools library.