Hand Hygiene Compliance – senior versus junior medical officers: an observational study

Dr  Louise Harrold, Dr Sara Mayfield, Mrs Sarah Tate

1Childrens Health Queensland, South Brisbane, Australia


Introduction. To evaluate hand hygiene compliance and behaviours in medical officers, comparing consultants with junior medical officers and different departments/specialities. Additionally the study introduced individual feedback and education as an intervention to improve hand hygiene compliance.

Methods.  Medical officer hand hygiene compliance according to the WHO 5 moments was observed during ward rounds and outpatient clinics from January 2018 to May 2018. Compliance was measured by validated hand hygiene auditors using a standardised auditing tool. Compliance rates were compared between consultants and junior medical officers and different divisions of medicine. Rates were also compared to compliance determined by parallel standard hospital auditing. Data was collected on potential barriers to hand hygiene compliance including curtains and doors and glove use. Education and feedback were provided verbally when appropriate and written feedback was provided routinely via email.

Results. A total of 506 moments were collected from 86 medical officers across 20 specialities during the study period. Overall hand hygiene compliance was measured to be 76.3% compared with 61.25% compliance derived from standard hospital auditing. A significant difference in compliance between consultants and junior medical staff was found with consultant compliance 65.9% compared with 83.9% for the junior medical staff (p <0.001).

Conclusions. Hand hygiene compliance was significantly poorer in the consultant group compared with junior medical officers indicating that future interventions aimed at improving compliance should be targeted at consultants.


Sarah is a Clinical Nurse for the Infection Management and Prevention Service holding the portfolio of hand hygiene. Sarah and Louise were given project time to complete this project looking at barriers to medical officer hand hygiene and specifically the intervention of personalised feedback provision.

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