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Hand hygiene products selection and evaluation

Last modified at 4/21/2016 8:30 PM by Vladimir Prikazsky

Careful selection of products that influence hand hygiene practice (e.g., Alcohol based handrubs [AHR], soaps, lotions, paper towels) can have a significant positive or negative impact on hand hygiene compliance depending on how well formulated.

The following elements should be taken into consideration:

a) the primary factor influencing hand hygiene product selection should be documented efficacy of the product;

b) hand hygiene products should be "user-friendly," regarding feel, fragrance and skin tolerance in order to enhance acceptance and use of the hand hygiene agent;

c) give preference to hand hygiene products with  low allergy/irritancy potential, since these products are usually used many times per shift;

d) select an AHR that has been optimally formulated to minimize skin damage e.g. containing humectants and/or emollients;

e) the residual stickiness which can occur due to these additional components has also to be considered;

f) consider cost-effectiveness and utility issues: these can vary locally also according to purchasing agreements;

g) solicit information from manufacturers regarding any effects that hand lotions, creams or AHRs may have on the persistent effects of antimicrobial soaps being used in your healthcare setting;

h) solicit information from manufacturers regarding interactions between hand hygiene products or hand care products and gloves used in the health care setting;

i) make the chosen manufacturer product information available to staff;

j) evaluate  the dispenser system of product manufacturers to ensure that dispensers deliver the required volume reproducibly, are readily cleaned and cleared when clogged up,  can be readily accessed by staff, patients and visitors.