The non-observance of hygiene rules by medical personnel is an actual topic for discussion since the prevalence of infections is higher in those healthcare facilities where employees do not pay enough attention to this issue. Simple handwashing education may be an effective intervention method to increase the literacy of staff and visitors regarding the problem in question. The presented algorithm of work provides the assessment of the assumption concerning the benefits of special sessions aimed at reducing the level of infections in medical facilities. As a substantive basis, specific sources from the academic literature will be used to confirm the existence of this problem.
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The articles by Barnett et al. (2014), Chhapola and Brar (2014), Chun, Kim, and Park (2014), and Fox et al. (2015) form the background of this review. Also, the authors’ approaches will be considered, their methodology, and research features. The comparison of these data may allow finding the most relevant solutions to the problem of handwashing education among the junior and senior staff of medical institutions, as well as visitors.
Comparison of Research Questions
All the articles presented have one common goal – to determine how the initiative to create a special handwashing program contributes to the reduction of infections in healthcare units. However, not all research questions are the same, which indicates different authors’ approaches. Barnett et al. (2014) and Chhapola and Brar (2014) have similar goals: they seek to assess the compliance of hand hygiene with a general standard and determine how changing practices through interventions can help to reduce infection rates.
Chun et al. (2014) concentrate on specific bacteria that occur on insufficiently clean surfaces (“the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus”) and consider the possibility of intervention only in the intensive care unit (p. 709). Fox et al. (2015) also conduct their research in the emergency department, but they aim at exploring a new protocol on patient hand hygiene. The latter two studies are narrowly focused, while the first two are more related to general topics and do not consider purely individual cases of interventions.
Comparison of Sample Populations
Not all the authors carry out research based on the achievement of the declared goals by working with the target groups of participants. For instance, Barnett et al. (2014) consider the information obtained as a result of the review of data from 38 Australian hospitals. The authors use “12 possible patterns of change, with the best fitting pattern chosen using the Akaike information criterion” (Barnett et al., 2014, p. 1029). Chhapola and Brar (2014) review specific data based on 27,000 reported cases of assessing hand hygiene in their large-scale study (p. 486).
Chun et al. (2014) are the only ones who investigate the problem while working in an isolated intensive care unit, and 27 nurses are the target group. They are tested on the basis of a new hand hygiene program, and the subsequent evaluation of the effectiveness of the work done is performed. Fox et al. (2015) compare “12-month rates of 2 common hospital-acquired infections” and “nurses’ hand-washing compliance” (p. 216). In their work, the emphasis is on general statistical indicators in accordance with a global analysis rather than the evaluation of a single group of participants. Thus, the samples of all the studies differ in their type and methods of data collection.
Comparison of the Limitations
In the articles, there are limitations that vary depending on the type of research and the methodology used. In the study by Barnett et al. (2014), the main focus is on the results obtained from the review of hospitals, and the authors note that their research “did not receive the intervention” (p. 1034). This limitation does not give an opportunity to evaluate the benefits of this work adequately. Chhapola and Brar (2014) remark that in their article, there is no the repeated assessment of compliance with hand hygiene after their educational intervention, which does not allow evaluating the effectiveness of the measures taken.
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Chun et al. (2014) note that their research was conducted without prior preparation and receiving all the necessary information. Also, the target population group (nurses in the intensive care unit) is limited to make a conclusion concerning an exceptional research value. Finally, Fox et al. (2015) argue that their study “cannot be solely attributed to the intervention” because of some patients who were isolated when conducting research (p. 223). Moreover, the work was carried out in one department, which also reduces the practical value of the article.
The review of relevant academic literature may allow finding valuable facts regarding hand hygiene among medical personnel and visitors to medical institutions. Further research can focus on working within multiple healthcare facilities and attracting a large number of participants of different qualifications. This measure may help to achieve credible results of work and draw competent conclusions concerning the effectiveness of the use of handwashing educational methods. Based on the limitations considered, research approaches need to be modified in order to use the most reliable data.
Barnett, A. G., Page, K., Campbell, M., Brain, D., Martin, E., Rashleigh-Rolls, R.,… & Paterson, D. (2014). Changes in healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections after the introduction of a national hand hygiene initiative. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 35(8), 1029-1036. Web.
Chhapola, V., & Brar, R. (2014). Impact of an educational intervention on hand hygiene compliance and infection rate in a developing country neonatal intensive care unit. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(5), 486-492. Web.
Chun, H. K., Kim, K. M., & Park, H. R. (2014). Effects of hand hygiene education and individual feedback on hand hygiene behaviour, MRSA acquisition rate and MRSA colonization pressure among intensive care unit nurses. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(6), 709-715. Web.
Fox, C., Wavra, T., Drake, D. A., Mulligan, D., Bennett, Y. P., Nelson, C.,… Bader, M. K. (2015). Use of a patient hand hygiene protocol to reduce hospital-acquired infections and improve nurses’ hand washing. American Journal of Critical Care, 24(3), 216-224. Web.