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Hospital Workers Wash Hands Less After Long Hours

 Study: Hospital Workers Wash Hands Less after Long Hours:



Hospital staff tend to wash their hands less after working for long periods without a break, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology.


Infections among patients increase when hospital staff don't wash their hands frequently, the study found – adding, the researchers estimated, $12.5 billion per year to health care costs in the U.S.


The study examined the habits of 4,157 staff in 35 U.S. hospitals using radio frequency identification chips on personnel, in soap dispensers and other locations. The researchers, led by University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate Hengchen Dai, found that compliance with hand-washing rules among hospital staff dropped 8.7% from the beginning to the end of a regular 12-hour shift. However, they tended to wash more when they received longer breaks during their shifts.


"Just as the repeated exercise of muscles leads to physical fatigue, repeated use of executive resources (cognitive resources that allow people to control their behaviors, desires and emotions) produces a decline in an individual’s self-regulatory capacity," the researchers wrote.

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