Pure Hold Hygiene Handle helps keep bugs at bay

Tests in UK hospitals have shown a 30-fold increase in hand hygiene compliance

Pictured with Hygiene Handles installed at University College Hospital, London are Belen Fenoy, nursing assistant (left) and deputy sister Bente Stanbridge (right), both of the acute surgical unit at the hospital

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, one of the UK’s largest NHS trusts, has been involved in a three-month evaluation of the Pure Hold Hygiene Handle to help improve hand hygiene compliance.

Five Hygiene Handles have been installed at University College Hospital, London at locations including acute admissions, critical care and the adult in-patient department. The trial will allow the Trust’s infection prevention team to evaluate the effectiveness of the Hygiene Handles on hand hygiene compliance rates and solicit feedback from staff, patients and visitors.

The Hygiene Handle was also trialled at The Royal Hampshire Country Hospital in Winchester and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth in 2011.

The Hygiene Handle is a pull door handle that automatically dispenses sanitising gel into the hand of the user. It is a single integrated unit and has been designed with NHS specialists to help hospitals prevent the spread of infections and ensure that everyone who enters an area uses sanitising gel to kill any bugs on their hands. Installation by Pure Hold staff takes around 10 minutes.

The product features an intelligent gel delivery system with 21 individual pressure points to ensure that the right amount of gel is dispensed for the size of each hand. The user simply grabs the handle to open the door and then rubs their hands together in the usual way.

The tamperproof, transparent reservoir contains 1,300ml of sanitising gel. It can be checked at a glance and an additional reserve reservoir reduces the likelihood of running out of gel, even in high footfall locations.

The Pure Hold hand gel has been specially formulated for the Hygiene Handle to ensure optimal performance (e.g. the thickness of the gel reduces the risk of spillage onto the floor and it has been formulated so that excess gel evaporates quickly).

Matt Roberts, managing director of Pure Hold and inventor of the Hygiene Handle, says the gel has been tested to the highest UK and European standards, including the EN14476 test against Murine Norovirus (a surrogate for human Norovirus), as well as to EN15000. It contains 70% alcohol, which is what makes it so effective, but also contains skin moisturisers and aloe vera to help reduce any irritation to the skin.

Roberts said that prior to the trials in Winchester and Portsmouth hand hygiene compliance at the ward entrances varied widely between the different locations at the two hospitals, ranging from 2% to 38.5%, with an overall average of 22.7%.

After installation of the Hygiene Handle, hand hygiene compliance at the ward entrances increased significantly, ranging from 48.3% to 78.1%, to an overall average of 68.1% across the two hospitals. The greatest increase was in those locations where baseline compliance was lower, with the use of hand hygiene by patients, the public and healthcare workers increasing 18- and 30-fold, respectively.

“The Hygiene Handle doesn’t replace the need for ‘point of care’ hand hygiene but is designed to be used with it and reduce the risk of infections being brought in from the community and being spread between staff, patients and wards,” said Roberts.

Roberts established Pure Hold to develop the Hygiene Handle with the help of a South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) Micro Grant awarded in 2009. The project attracted angel investment funding last year, allowing him to put the product into full-scale production.