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Posted on: 18-11-14
Hospital workers wash hands less often as shift nears end

A recent study has revealed that hospital professionals and workers clean their hands less frequently as their day to day work advances. This decline in compliance with hand washing rules goes up with increase in work pressure, the findings showed.

"For hospital caregivers, hand-washing may be viewed as a lower-priority task and thus it appears compliance with hand hygiene guidelines suffers as the workday progresses," said Hengchen Dai from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

Demanding jobs have the potential to energize the employees, but work pressure may force them concentrate more on maintaining performance on the initial and primary tasks. A total of 4,157 caregivers in the US hospitals were analyzed as the researchers went through three years of hand washing data of the health professionals.

They also found that 'hand-washing compliance rates' dropped by an average of 8.7 percentage points from the beginning to the end of typical 12 hour shift. The decline being shown was because the decline in compliance was magnified by the exaggerated work intensity. More time off between shifts appeared to restore workers executive resources – they followed hand-washing protocol more carefully after longer breaks. Hand-washing in hospitals has been demonstrated to reduce infections and save money.

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