Hand hygiene deficiencies are tied to staffing levels, study finds

Share this article:

A spike in the number of hand hygiene deficiencies noted in nursing homes is linked to inadequate staffing levels, new research reveals.

Between 2000 and 2002, nursing home inspectors issued hand hygiene deficiencies in fewer than 7.4% of facilities, but that number jumped to 12% by 2009, according to researchers who analyzed nursing home survey data collected between 2000 and 2009.

The study's lead author, Nicholas Castle, Ph.D., said a couple of factors account for this increase. Nursing homes with proportionately fewer RNs, LPNs and aides had significantly more deficiencies than facilities with more staff. Facilities in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement rates also are significantly more likely to have hand-washing lapses.

Castle told the New York Times that as awareness for healthcare-acquired infections has grown, nursing home inspectors are becoming increasingly aggressive about looking for lapses in hand hygiene protocol and reporting it.

The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.