Journal of Patient Safety and Infection Control

: 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 93--94

ABC's of hand hygiene: An aid to improve adherence

Chepsy C Philip1, Shilpa Abraham2, Amrith Mathew1, M Joseph John1,  
1 Clinical Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
2 Paediatric Critical Care, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medicine and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chepsy C Philip
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana - 141 008, Punjab

How to cite this article:
Philip CC, Abraham S, Mathew A, John M J. ABC's of hand hygiene: An aid to improve adherence.J Patient Saf Infect Control 2018;6:93-94

How to cite this URL:
Philip CC, Abraham S, Mathew A, John M J. ABC's of hand hygiene: An aid to improve adherence. J Patient Saf Infect Control [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 18 ];6:93-94
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Full Text

Healthcare-associated infections are a serious global problem. It can be transmitted through direct and indirect contact. Transmission through the contaminated hands of the healthcare worker is the most common pattern. In the absence of appropriate hand hygiene action, the longer the care, higher the degree of contamination of the hands.[1]

Hand hygiene is the primary measure proven to be effective in preventing healthcare-associated infection and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.[2] Handwashing is a simple and effective way of hand hygiene. Deficiencies in handwashing lead to poor decontamination.

Despite the proven evidence, guidelines and efforts of global agencies including the WHO, there appears to be limitations and many barriers to effective handwashing.[1] Lack of knowledge, experience and education are among many recognised barriers to effective hand hygiene. Additional tools are required to aid healthcare worker education. In the developing world where there is an existing burden of infection and antimicrobial resistance,[3],[4] it will be useful to augment the efforts to improve hand hygiene.

Mnemonics are recognised useful aids to facilitate recall.[5],[6] Their use in healthcare to improve translation of knowledge and retrieve procedural items has been recognised to be effective.[7],[8] Similar to the sequence of airway, breathing and circulation (ABC) in trauma care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the use of ABC in handwashing {[Figure 1]: A-Accept and Apply; B-Backhand; C-Clasp; D-Dock; E-Encircle the thumbs; F-Rub the Fingertips]} could be utilised as a tool to aid education. This traces the appropriate handwash steps from A to F, possibly improving procedural recall by relating each step in the procedure to the alphabetical order from A through F. The ABC in CPR is being introduced into community through schools to augment the impact of basic life support and save more lives.[9],[10] It might have a similar effect if the hand wash mnemonic could be introduced in the community and schools to supplement the efforts to improve hand hygiene, though its utility will have to be tested in a real-life setting.{Figure 1}

We propose the incorporation of the “ABC” mnemonic to the health-care workers education to make handwashing simpler and effective. It is also a possibility that extending its use in the community could help enhance the efforts against transmission of infection.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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