Assessing patient awareness of proper hand hygiene

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“Results of this study appear to indicate a need to focus on patient education and the differences between soap and water versus alcohol-based hand sanitizers as part of proper hand hygiene” Busby et al (2015).

Reference:

Busby, S.R., Kennedy, B., Davis, S.C., Thompson, H.A. and Jones, J.W. (2015) Assessing patient awareness of proper hand hygiene. Nursing. 45(5), p.27–30.

Abstract:

Background: The authors hypothesized that patients may not understand the forms of effective hand hygiene employed in the hospital environment.

Literature review: Multiple studies demonstrate the importance of hand hygiene in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Extensive research about how to improve compliance has been conducted.

Methodology: Patients’ perceptions of proper hand hygiene were evaluated when caregivers used soap and water, waterless hand cleaner, or a combination of these.

Results: No significant differences were observed, but many patients reported they did not notice whether their providers cleaned their hands.

Discussion: Educating patients and their caregivers about the protection afforded by proper, consistent hand hygiene practices is important.

Implications for nursing practice: Engaging patients to monitor healthcare workers may increase compliance, reduce the spread of infection, and lead to better overall patient outcomes.

Implications for research: This study revealed a need to investigate the effects of patient education on patient perceptions of hand hygiene.

Conclusion: Results of this study appear to indicate a need to focus on patient education and the differences between soap and water versus alcohol-based hand sanitizers as part of proper hand hygiene. Researchers could be asking: “Why have patients not been engaged as members of the healthcare team who have the most to lose?”

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