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Measurement of Patient Hand Hygiene in Multiorgan Transplant Units Using a Novel Technology: An Observational Study

  • Jocelyn A. Srigley (a1), Colin D. Furness (a2) and Michael Gardam (a3)



Healthcare worker hand hygiene is known to prevent healthcare-associated infections, but there are few data on patient hand hygiene despite the fact that nosocomial pathogens may be acquired by patients via their own unclean hands. The purpose of this study was to measure patient hand hygiene behavior in the hospital after visiting a bathroom, before eating, and on entering and leaving their rooms


Cross-sectional study.


Acute care teaching hospital in Canada.


Convenience sample of 279 adult patients admitted to 3 multiorgan transplant units between July 2012 and March 2013.


Patient use of alcohol-based hand rub and soap dispensers was measured using an ultrasound-based real-time location system during visits to bathrooms, mealtimes, kitchen visits, and on entering and leaving their rooms.


Overall, patients performed hand hygiene during 29.7% of bathroom visits, 39.1% of mealtimes, 3.3% of kitchen visits, 2.9% of room entries, and 6.7% of room exits.


Patients appear to perform hand hygiene infrequently, which may contribute to transmission of pathogens from the hospital environment via indirect contact or fecal-oral routes.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(11):1336–1341


Corresponding author

711 Concession Street, M1-Room 8, Hamilton, ON L8V 1C3, Canada (


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