What is Your Hand Hygiene IQ?

800x600Last week we shared information about health care organizations that had improved compliance with best practices for hand hygiene into the 90% range.  If patient safety (i.e. reduction in healthcare acquired infection) is to be accomplished hand hygiene must become highly reliable. One of the measures to monitor and improve hand hygiene the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recommends is that healthcare workers demonstrate their knowledge of the key elements of hand hygiene practice.

Below are 16 questions so that you can test your knowledge about hand hygiene. Next week the answers will be posted. You could pick perhaps five questions and post them in the workplace or pass them out at a staff meeting to generate discussion among your colleagues.  The IHI recommends only using a few at a time so that people are not burdened by the exercise. All of the possible questions are listed here so you can choose how you want to use them.

1. If infectious matter gets on your hands:

A. The sooner you wash it off, the less chance you have of getting infected.

B. It is okay to wait as long as you wash it off when you can get to it.

2. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthcare professionals was their hands with soap and water for at least:

A. 30 seconds

B. 15 seconds

C. 20 seconds

3. According to the CDC the most effective way to reduce multi-drug resistant pathogens on the hands is to:

A. Use an alcohol based sanitizer.

B. Wash with warm water and soap.

C. Use prepackaged antibacterial wipes.

4. To reduce contamination after washing your hands turn off the faucet by using:

A. A paper towel.

B. Your elbow.

C. The top of the hand.

5. Which substances are considered most likely skin irritants:

A. Alcohol-based sanitizer.

B. Soap and water

C. Prepackaged antibacterial wipes.

6. Alcohol-based sanitizer is effective against Clostridium difficile.

A. True

B. False

7. Glove use when in contact with patients is a useful strategy in reducing transmission of infectious organisms.

A. True

B. False

8. How often should you clean your hands after touching a patient?

A. Always

B. Often

C. Sometimes

D. Never

9. How often should you clean your hands after touching an environmental surface in a patient care area?

A. Always

B. Often

C. Sometimes

D. Never

10. Artificial nails worn by a healthcare worker poses an infection risk for patients.

A. True

B. False

11. In which of the following situations should hand hygiene be performed?

A. Before direct contact with a patient.

B. Before an invasive procedure.

C. When moving from a contaminated to a clean body site.

D. After direct contact with a patient

E. After removing gloves.

     Answer choices:

1. B and E

2. A, B, and D

3. B, D, and E

4. All of the above

12. Which of the following is most effective in reducing bacteria on the hands when they are not visibly soiled or contaminated?

A. Washing hands with plain soap and water.

B. Washing hands with antimicrobial soap and water.

C. Using alcohol-based sanitizer and rubbing until dry.

13. How are antibiotic-resistant pathogens most often spread among patients in healthcare settings?

A. Airborne transmission from coughing and sneezing.

B. Contact with contaminated equipment.

C. Inadequate environmental sanitation.

D. Contamination on the hands of clinical staff.

14. Hand hygiene including proper use of gloves prevents transmission of the following  to healthcare workers:

A. Herpes simplex virus

B. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

C. Hepatitis B

D. All of the above

15. Which of the following pathogens survive in the patient care environment for days to weeks?

A. Escherichia coli

B. Klebsiella spp.

C. Clostridium difficile

D. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

E. Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus

     Answer choices:

1. A and D

2. A and B

3. C, D, and E

4. All of the above

16. Which of the following statements about alcohol-based hand sanitizer is most accurate?

A. It dries the skin more than washing with soap and water.

B. It causes more allergy and skin irritation than products made with chlorhexidine gluconate.

C. In the presence of a pre-existing skin condition it can cause some stinging.

D. It is effective when hands are visibly soiled or contaminated.

E. It destroys bacteria more slowly than antiseptic soaps.

Do you have some hand hygiene questions you would add to these? What ideas do you have about how to generate interest in improving hand hygiene knowledge and practice? Please share them with others by responding in the comments section of this post.

For more on hand hygiene in the correctional setting please refer to the Essentials of Correctional Nursing particularly Chapter 4 in relation to patient safety and Chapter 10 as part of the discussion about infection control.  You can order your copy directly from the publisher. Use promotional code AF1209 for $15 off and free shipping.

Photo Credit: provided courtesy of Novant Health at http://www.washinghandssaveslives.org/download/

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