Hand hygiene (HH) is recognized as an effective way to decrease transmission of infections. Little research has been conducted surrounding HH in nursing homes (NHs). In this research, deficiency citations representing potential problems with HH practices by staff as identified in the certification process conducted at almost all US NHs were examined. The aims of the study were to identify potential relationships between these deficiency citations and characteristics of the NH and characteristics of the NH environment. We used a panel of 148,900 observations with information primarily coming from the 2000 through 2009 Online Survey, Certification, And Reporting data (OSCAR). An average of 9% of all NHs per year received a deficiency citation for HH. In the multivariate analyses, for all three caregivers examined (i.e., nurse aides, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses) low staffing levels were associated with receiving a deficiency citation for HH. Two measures of poor quality (i.e.,  Quality of care deficiency citations and  J, K, or L deficiency citations, that is deficiency citations with a high extent of harm and/or more residents affected) were also associated with receiving a deficiency citation for HH. Given the percentage of NHs receiving deficiency citations for potential problems with HH identified in this research, more attention should be placed on this issue.
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