Use of a patient hand hygiene protocol to reduce hospital-acquired infections and improve nurses' hand washing - Abstract

BACKGROUND: Critically ill patients are at marked risk of hospital-acquired infections, which increase patients' morbidity and mortality.

Registered nurses are the main health care providers of physical care, including hygiene to reduce and prevent hospital-acquired infections, for hospitalized critically ill patients.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate a new patient hand hygiene protocol designed to reduce hospital-acquired infection rates and improve nurses' hand-washing compliance in an intensive care unit.

METHODS: A preexperimental study design was used to compare 12-month rates of 2 common hospital-acquired infections, central catheter-associated bloodstream infection and catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and nurses' hand-washing compliance measured before and during use of the protocol.

RESULTS: Reductions in 12-month infection rates were reported for both types of infections, but neither reduction was statistically significant. Mean 12-month nurse hand-washing compliance also improved, but not significantly.

CONCLUSIONS: A hand hygiene protocol for patients in the intensive care unit was associated with reductions in hospital-acquired infections and improvements in nurses' hand-washing compliance. Prevention of such infections requires continuous quality improvement efforts to monitor lasting effectiveness as well as investigation of strategies to eliminate these infections.

Written by:
Fox C, Wavra T, Drake DA, Mulligan D, Bennett YP, Nelson C, Kirkwood P, Jones L, Bader MK.   Are you the author?
Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, California.  

Reference: Am J Crit Care. 2015 May;24(3):216-24.
doi: 10.4037/ajcc2015898

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 25934718

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