Comparison of perceived and observed hand hygiene compliance in healthcare workers in mers-cov endemic regions

Modhi Alshammari, Kelly A. Reynolds, Marc Verhougstraete, Mary Kay O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study investigated healthcare workers’ perceptions of hand hygiene practices by comparing personal reports, as assessed by questionnaires, to direct observations of the workers’ hand hygiene practices. The study employed a cross-sectional research design. Observations were made using a 16-item checklist, based on three sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Boyce and Pittet’s guidelines of hand hygiene. The checklist was used for both direct-observation and self-reported data collection purposes. Pearson correlation and Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) were utilized to statistically determine the relationship between healthcare workers’ reports of hand hygiene practices and observed hand hygiene behaviors. The study was conducted in the outpatient examination rooms and emergency departments of three types of hospitals in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia where Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is endemic and is observed in routine cases and outbreaks. The total sample size included 87 physicians and nurses recruited while on duty during the scheduled observation periods, with each healthcare worker being observed during individual medical examinations with at least three patients. No statistically significant correlations between the healthcare workers’ perceptions of hand hygiene practices and healthcare workers’ actual behaviors were evident. Based on the self-report questionnaires, significant differences were found between physicians’ and nurses’ hand hygiene practices reports. Healthcare workers clearly understand the importance of careful hand hygiene practices, but based on researchers’ observations, the medical personnel failed to properly implement protocol-driven hand hygiene applications. However, the significant differences between physicians’ and nurses’ self-reports suggest further inquiry is needed to fully explore these discrepancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Hand hygiene
  • Healthcare
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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