Nursing Preference for Alcohol-Based Hand Rub Volume

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Cambridge University Press (CUP)


Background:The effectiveness of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is correlated with drying time, which depends on the volume applied. Evidence suggests that there is considerable variation in the amount of ABHR used by healthcare providers. Objective:We sought to identify the volume of ABHR preferred for use by nurses. Methods:A prospective observation study was performed in 8 units at a tertiary-care hospital. Nurses were provided pocket-sized ABHR bottles with caps to record each bottle opening. Nurses were instructed to use the volume of ABHR they felt was best. The average ABHR volume used per hand hygiene event was calculated using cap data and changes in bottle mass. Results:In total, 53 nurses participated and 140 nurse shifts were analyzed. The average ABHR dose was 1.09 mL. This value was greater for non-ICU nurses (1.18 mL) than ICU nurses (0.96 mL), but this difference was not significant. We detected no significant association between hand surface area and preferred average dose volume. The ABHR dose volume was 0.006 mL less per use as the number of applications per shift increased (P = .007).Conclusions:The average dose of ABHR used was similar to the dose provided by the hospital’s automated dispensers, which deliver 1.1 mL per dose. The volume of ABHR dose was inversely correlated with the number of applications of ABHR per shift and was not correlated with hand size. Further research to understand differences and drivers of ABHR volume preferences and whether automated ABHR dosing may create a risk for people with larger hands is warranted.



Microbiology (medical), Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases


Martinello, R., Arbogast, J., Guercia, K., Parker, A., & Boyce, J. (2019). Nursing preference for alcohol-based hand rub volume. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 40(11), 1248-1252. doi:10.1017/ice.2019.251
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