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Patients' perceptions of proper hand hygiene

Busby, Sunni R. BSN, RN, CMSRN; Kennedy, Bryan MS, RN, NEA-BC; Davis, Stephanie C. PhD, RN, FNP-BC; Thompson, Heather A. BA, ADN, RN, CMSRN; Jones, Jan W. ADN, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.CCN.0000471009.47697.e1
Department: Research Rounds

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 didn't 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.

This study looked at patients' perceptions of proper hand hygiene when caregivers used soap and water, waterless hand cleaner, or a combination of the two.

At AnMed Health in Anderson, S.C., Sunni R. Busby is nurse manager of the orthopedics unit; Bryan Kennedy is director of nursing in the medical-surgical division; Heather A. Thompson is the acting nurse manager and JanW. Jones is a staff nurse, both in the adult medical unit. Stephanie C. Davis is the graduate coordinator and an associate professor of nursing at Clemson University School of Nursing in Clemson, S.C.

Adapted and updated from Busby SR, Kennedy B, Davis SC, Thompson HA, Jones JW. Assessing patient awareness of proper hand hygiene. Nursing. 2015;45(5):27-30.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.

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