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How "User Friendly" Is the Hospital for Practicing Hand Hygiene? An Ergonomic Evaluation

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Background: An important cause of nonoptimal hand hygiene may be lack of "user friendliness" of hand hygiene resources due to violation of ergonomic principles in the design of the hospital environment and lack of timely replenishment of consumable resources.

Methods: An ergonomics-based tool, SWAG (for the four main hand hygiene resources—sinks, waste receptacles, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers, and gloves) was developed and implemented to assess the intensive care units and 59 individual rooms in the hospital for structural ergonomic characteristics that facilitate usage of these resources.

Results: Several deficiencies in the structural layout of hand hygiene resources were identified that hinder their usage, such as poor visibility, difficulty of access, placement at undesirable height, lack of redundancy, and wide spatial separation of resources that are used sequentially. Consumable hand hygiene resources were often not available because of lack of timely replenishment.

Discussion: Many simple inexpensive changes using ergonomic principles can be implemented to promote hand hygiene in hospitals.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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