Hands up or consumer engagement! Use of a patient satisfaction survey to evaluate hand hygiene practices in a high risk setting

Mrs Kaye Bellis1, M Pauline Bass1

1Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia


Implementing staff hand hygiene (HH) programs is a key component for Infection Prevention (IP), and standardised auditing methods enable compliance to be evaluated. Consumer experience surveys are used increasingly in health, but benefits for IP programs are not clear. We sought to evaluate elements of a HH program through patient experiences surveys in high-risk ward settings.


A dedicated patient survey was developed with stakeholder engagement to evaluate consumer experiences related to HH in ward settings with known Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae transmission. IP staff distributed surveys and an information brochure regarding HH to inpatients. Participation was voluntary and anonymous.


45 patients accepted surveys with 41 returned. Awareness and an understanding of the importance of HH compliance appeared high, although only half of respondents (52.5%) reported sighting the HH brochures during their visit. 97.5% reported staff looking after them were ‘excellent’ or ‘fairly good’ with HH practices, whilst the majority (85%) did not feel the need to ask staff to perform HH. 92.6% indicated that sufficient HH product was available in the ward setting. Interestingly, 78% routinely used ABHR themselves. 40% knew someone who had experienced a healthcare-associated infection and 70% felt that their expectations for HH requirements were met.


In our surveyed population, patient knowledge regarding HH was high, meaning that additional HH promotional materials may not be routinely required. In the context of multi-resistant organism outbreaks, patients report a high uptake of personal HH practices, reflecting active involvement in care and potential to support other prevention activities.


Kaye has had a long term love affair with Hand hygiene which continues to this day. After over 20 years in Infection Prevention she still enjoys the challenges and rewards that come with the job.

Getting one more staff member on board with HH each day is her aim.

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