This paper offers the project description on the topic of handwashing non-compliance among clinicians, staff, and visitors. Its contribution to the issue is that it discusses the settings in which the problem may occur and explains the significance of the issue. Indeed, the lack of hand hygiene has a crucial impact on the quality of care and patients’ health outcomes. The paper provides insight on the topic and suggests possible solutions to the problem, reviewing available findings in the field.
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Project Description and Focus
The topic selected for the project is handwashing non-compliance among physicians, staff, and visitors in the surgical services unit. Hand hygiene is an effective intervention that can prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections caused by bacterial pathogens (Reich et al., 2015). The level of medical professionals’ compliance with professional standards is not always high due to the workload, stress, and physical and emotional demands of work (Dai, Milkman, Hofmann, & Staats, 2015). Sometimes hand hygiene is considered less important than other clinicians’ tasks. The adverse consequences of visitors’ handwashing non-compliance are often underestimated as well (Srigley, Furness, & Gardam, 2016). That is why it is necessary to address the issue to contribute to its elimination.
The problem can be observed in a variety of settings, including acute care clinics and hospitals, emergency medical services, community health centers, and other facilities. This project will address hand hygiene noncompliance in the surgical services unit specifically, as the issue presents a serious obstacle to care in such facilities. Surgical site infections account for almost a quarter of all healthcare-associated infections that affect around 5% of individuals every year (Oriel, Chen, & Itani, 2017). This situation can be improved if the problem is put under control.
The Impact and Significance of the Problem
Compliance with hand hygiene can have a direct impact on the quality of care provided by staff. In surgical services units, handwashing is especially crucial as medical professionals work with reusable surgical instruments and may transmit infectious agents if the tools are contaminated (Costa et al., 2017). Moreover, handwashing can be crucial for patient outcomes as it prevents hospitalized individuals from acquiring healthcare-associated infections. According to Fox et al. (2015), they cause 90,000 preventable deaths annually; the statistics determine the significance of the problem.
The issue is directly related to nursing, as caregivers interact with many patients daily, which increases the risk of unintentional transmission of infections. It is necessary to address the problem since medical professionals and other hospital workers, as well as visitors, may underestimate its impact. As nurses are patients’ primary sources of support, it is crucial to underline the relevance of the problem to their practice.
The possible solutions to the lack of hand hygiene are suggested by several studies. For example, Chassin, Mayer, and Nether (2015) advise the implementation of training programs for clinicians to address the outcomes of the problem, as well as provide them with easy access to handwashing equipment. Luangasanatip et al. (2015) add that monitoring staff’s and visitors’ hand hygiene practices while offering compliance feedback, and application of reward incentives are among other possible solutions to the problem.
The lack of hand hygiene is an acute problem that should be addressed to improve patient outcomes and the quality of care. The issue is particularly significant for surgical services units as handwashing non-compliance may lead to the contamination of reusable instruments. The problem is relevant to nursing practice, as caregivers interact with many patients daily, which increases the risk of possible infection transmission. The possible solutions to the issue include training programs, monitoring hygiene practices, and providing easy access to handwashing equipment.
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Chassin, M. R., Mayer, C., & Nether, K. (2015). Improving hand hygiene at eight hospitals in the United States by targeting specific causes of noncompliance. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 41(1), 4-12.
Costa, D. M., Lopes, L. K. O., Tipple, A. F. V., Castillo, R. B., Hu, H., Deva, A. K., & Vickery, K. (2017). Effect of hand hygiene and glove use on cleanliness of reusable surgical instruments. Journal of Hospital Infection, 97(4), 348-352.
Dai, H., Milkman, K. L., Hofmann, D. A., & Staats, B. R. (2015). The impact of time at work and time off from work on rule compliance: The case of hand hygiene in health care. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 846-862.
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.
Luangasanatip, N., Hongsuwan, M., Limmathurotsakul, D., Lubell, Y., Lee, A. S., Harbarth, S.,… & Cooper, B. S. (2015). Comparative efficacy of interventions to promote hand hygiene in hospital: Systematic review and network meta-analysis. BMJ, 351, 1-14. Web.
Oriel, B. S., Chen, Q., & Itani, K. M. (2017). The impact of surgical hand antisepsis technique on surgical site infection. The American Journal of Surgery, 213(1), 24-29.
Reich, J. A., Goodstein, M. E., Callahan, S. E., Callahan, K. M., Crossley, L. W., Doron, S. I.,… & Nasraway, S. A. (2015). Physician report cards and rankings yield long-lasting hand hygiene compliance exceeding 90%. Critical Care, 19(292), 1-6. Web.
Srigley, J. A., Furness, C. D., & Gardam, M. (2016). Interventions to improve patient hand hygiene: A systematic review. Journal of Hospital Infection, 94(1), 23-29.