Background: Most research on hand hygiene compliance in community settings indicates that compliance is poor. It is not conclusive as to whether poster interventions are effective at improving compliance. Methods: An independent, self-designed poster intervention was installed in one set of male and female public restrooms in a university campus in the UK. The hand hygiene practice and compliance of the university population was measured via indirect observation over a 60 day period. Results: During the pre-intervention observation period, 51.09% of the university population practiced basic hand hygiene compliance (washed hands with water, soap and dried afterwards), and 7.88% practiced adequate hand hygiene compliance (washed hands with water and soap for 20 s or more and dried afterwards for 20 s or more). During the post-intervention observation period, 55.39% of the university population were observed practicing basic hand hygiene compliance, and 7.97% practicing adequate hand hygiene compliance. Gender differences revealed that more females practiced basic hand hygiene in the post-intervention observation period (62.81%) than during the pre-intervention period (49.23%) and this was statistically significant (χ2
= 13.49, p
= < 0.01). Discussion: The poster intervention had a limited effect on improving the basic and adequate hand hygiene compliance of the general population when using public restrooms. The use of independent, self-designed posters to improve hand hygiene practice and compliance is largely ineffective in the short term and should be used with caution in future intervention strategies.
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