DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_259_23 ISSN: 2347-7946

Barriers to hand hygiene compliance in intensive care units to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections

Gurjeet Singh, Raksha Singh, Ranga Reddy Burri
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science



Healthcare-associated infections cause significant challenges to the provision of health care. This is due to the strain on individuals, their families, and health services. Hand hygiene measures are cost-effective to reduce the spread of healthcare-associated infections and effectively prevent the transmission of microorganisms during patient care. The hands of healthcare workers have been proven to be the main route of transmission of healthcare-associated infections. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is a straightforward method for averting healthcare-associated infections. Despite its significance, evidence suggests a need for enhanced compliance among healthcare workers concerning hand hygiene practices. Multiple factors influence hand hygiene adherence. Hence, this study sought to elucidate healthcare workers’ encounters with obstacles impeding hand hygiene compliance within intensive care units (ICUs).

Materials and Methods:

Conducted via purposive sampling, this qualitative study involved 50 professionals, including doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, physiotherapists, and attendants employed in ICUs. The study utilized semi-structured individual interviews to collect data, whereas data analysis was carried out using the Lundman and Graneheim method.


In this study, the primary theme of “obstacles hindering hand hygiene adherence” is segmented into three principal categories:

1.barriers linked to healthcare providers encompass subcategories, such as workload, inadequate knowledge, inappropriate attitudes, and incorrect behavioral patterns;

2.barriers associated with management are delineated through subcategories involving inadequate planning and training and improper departmental physical space design; and

3.barriers related to equipment and facilities, consisting of subcategories centered on insufficient availability of equipment and equipment of subpar quality.


The outcomes of this study offer valuable insights that can assist relevant authorities in implementing effective strategies to eliminate obstacles in hand hygiene practices. These findings aim to encourage the cultivation of the correct attitudes and behaviors among healthcare workers.

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