The incidence of hospital-acquired infections can be listed among the leading concerns of healthcare specialists all over the world since infectious diseases often nullify the results of effective treatment strategies. Without exaggeration, the development of strategies helping to reduce the incidence of nosocomial infections is among the tasks of national importance. The proposed study is going to research the potential of hand hygiene promotion in this regard.
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The problem of infections acquired during hospital treatment can affect any group of patients since the major risk factors vary depending on the type of infection. Also, speaking about the role of different parties in the given issue, it is pivotal to mention that there are conditions that spread primarily due to the mistakes of healthcare providers (Hor et al., 2017). They can be related to the exploitation and maintenance of medical equipment, certain disinfection errors, the violations of protocols for patient room cleaning, and similar factors.
The proposed project is going to focus on a group of hospitalized patients considered as a high-risk population. As is clear from the literature review conducted by Rodríguez-Atlas, de Abreu Almeida, Engelman, and Cañon-Montañez (2017), some chronic health conditions such as diabetes are linked to the increased risks of nosocomial infections. Additionally, the size of risks is strictly interconnected with the experience of surgical interventions, and it can be meaningful to focus on a patient group that demonstrates two or more risk factors (Rodríguez-Acelas et al., 2017).
Taking into account the consequences of infections acquired during hospital stays, it is especially significant to study the effectiveness of prevention strategies in high-risk populations. Therefore, the proposed research project will focus on adult post-surgery patients of both sexes who have a diagnosis of diabetes.
In modern healthcare practice, there are some popular interventions aimed at the prevention of infectious diseases in hospitalized patients. Numerous projects are aimed at promoting compliance with hygiene requirements among nurses and other workers who contact patients (Sun, Chow, Hanowski, & Henderson, 2016). As for the planned study, it is going to emphasize the role of patients’ responsible attitudes to their health and self-care practices. The neglect of personal hygiene also contributes to the risks of infections and severely affects treatment outcomes, and this is why studying interventions that deal with self-care promotion is important. Therefore, it is pivotal to use the experiences of other researchers to develop an intervention to be tested.
The intervention for the planned study is aimed at helping hospitalized high-risk patients to develop healthy habits related to handwashing and hand hygiene. In particular, it is proposed to implement patient education sessions that involve both theoretical and practical components. About the theory of hand hygiene, all patients in the experimental group are to engage in 30-minute conversations with nurses devoted to the principles of hand hygiene.
During the conversations, patients will be educated about the infection transmission routes, the timeliness of hand-washing procedures (before food intakes and touching the ENT organs and eyes, after using hospital toilets and contacting with high-touch surfaces, etc.). After that, nurses will provide education concerning the types of hand hygiene products (soap, sanitizing liquids, etc.) and demonstrate how to use each option properly (Knighton et al., 2017; Fox et al., 2015). In the end, the clients will receive standardized printed materials presenting this information in a well-organized way (Haverstick et al., 2017). The education sessions will not be repeated, but all patients from the experimental group will be allowed to contact their health providers to ask additional questions.
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Commonly used procedures for the promotion of hand hygiene may vary depending on the healthcare facility. In the planned study, patients from the comparison group will receive no in-depth education, handout materials, and personalized instruction concerning the use of various options for cleaning their hands. With that in mind, they will be free to choose the options to be used based on the general rules of hand hygiene and their knowledge.
The study will test the outcomes of the discussed intervention about the frequency of cases of hospital-acquired infections. Therefore, to answer the research question, it will be necessary to measure and compare the incidence rates of nosocomial infections in the comparison and intervention groups. Considering that some patients admitted to hospitals can already have some “hidden” infections, all individuals to be included in the study will be thoroughly examined before the start of the experiment.
The dynamics of post-surgery patients’ general condition and health risks should be taken into consideration to provide more accurate results. It is generally believed that the first few weeks after surgical interventions present a period associated with high risks of infections and complications (Rodríguez-Acelas et al., 2017). As for the time component of the PICOT question, it is planned to conduct the assessments of patients’ health status on the fourteenth day after surgical operations.
To sum it up, patient safety belongs to a number of the key priorities for care providers, but there is a wide range of factors that threaten it and affect treatment outcomes. The proposed study is going to focus on the role that proper hand hygiene practices in patients play in the prevention of hospital-acquired infections. The following PICOT question will be utilized: in adult post-surgery patients with diabetes (P), does the provision of two-step interventions for hand hygiene promotion (I) instead of general instructions (C) reduce the incidence of HAIs (O) two weeks after surgery (T)?
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.
Haverstick, S., Goodrich, C., Freeman, R., James, S., Kullar, R., & Ahrens, M. (2017). Patients’ hand washing and reducing hospital-acquired infection. Critical Care Nurse, 37(3), e1-e8.
Hor, S. Y., Hooker, C., Ledema, R., Wyer, M., Gilbert, G. L., Jorm, C., & O’Sullivan, M. V. N. (2017). Beyond hand hygiene: A qualitative study of the everyday work of preventing cross-contamination on hospital wards. BMJ Quality and Safety, 26(7), 552-558.
Knighton, S. C., McDowell, C., Rai, H., Higgins, P., Burant, C., & Donskey, C. J. (2017). Feasibility: An important but neglected issue in patient hand hygiene. American Journal of Infection Control, 45(6), 626-629.
Rodríguez-Acelas, A. L., de Abreu Almeida, M., Engelman, B., & Cañon-Montañez, W. (2017). Risk factors for health care–associated infection in hospitalized adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Infection Control, 45(12), e149-e156.
Sun, J., Chow, B., Hanowski, B., & Henderson, E. A. (2016). Correlation between hand hygiene compliance and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus incidence. Canadian Journal of Infection Control, 31(4), 215-220.