The frequency of handwashing in two intensive care units (ICUs) was observed. Handwashing after direct contact with patients or their support equipment was recorded. The ratio of beds to sinks was 1:1 in the medical ICU and 4:1 in the surgical ICU. Surveillance of physicians, nurses, and other personnel demonstrated a greater frequency of handwashing by nurses (63%) compared with physicians (19%) and other personnel (25%). The nurses in the unit with one sink per bed had a significantly greater number of handwashes (76%) than those in the unit with fewer sinks (51%).
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