Background: Hand hygiene plays a key role in the prevention of healthcare-associated infection in critical patients.
Objective: The current study aimed to evaluate compliance with hand hygiene practices.
Methods: An observational and descriptive study was carried out in a 35-bed medical-surgical critical care unit in La Habana (Cuba) from January 2017 to December 2018. The observational method recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) was used.
Results: Overall compliance was 34.2% (5516/16 125), with better compliance among physicians (39%) compared with nurses (31.4%) and ancillary staff (19.5%). Better compliance was observed after patient contact (65.7%) and after contact with patients’ surroundings (42.0%) in comparison with greater focus on patient safety as before patient contact (23.3%) and before an aseptic task (11.4%). Hand washing was performed more frequently than hand rubs.
Conclusion: Compliance with hand hygiene practices is low and no improvement in compliance was observed during the study period. This practice is related to the high risk of transmission of healthcare-related infections in critical patients and requires quality improvement interventions.