Do Infection Preventionists Value Visitor Hygiene Education to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAI’s)? (Infection Control Survey Question 6)

posted Nov 16, 2011, 8:09 AM by Todd Fox   [ updated Sep 24, 2016, 8:15 AM ]

The results of Survey Question 6 (about the role that patient visitors play in infection control) were very interesting.  At first glance, they suggest that Infection Preventionists do not highly value the benefits that may come from educating hospital visitors.  This seemed to be peculiar especially since much has been written about the amount of HAI’s that have been traced to visitor interaction.  Below are the results of Question 6 (Separated into “It will depend,” “Positive,” and “Negative.”):

 

6.       What are your thoughts on an “airport security” like checkpoint for visitors dealing with hygiene (don gloves, masks, booties, and other materials necessary depending on sensors and the condition of the patient)?  Check all that apply.

 

It will “Depend” Total 31.8%

11.4%  Effectiveness will depend on the time it takes for visitors to go through

15.9%  Effectiveness will depend on costs

 

Positive Total 11.4%

11.4%  I think it would cut down on HAIs

 

Negative Total 56.8%

6.8%  I don't think it will make a difference

18.2%  Cost will outweigh benefit potentially

15.9%  Too much effort for too little of benefit

4.5%  It would work if cost could be passed on in hospital fees

11.4%  Too difficult to maintain

4.5%  Other  It will result in low customer satisfaction

 

Perhaps the results would have been different if the question would have been more straight forward rather than inquiring about a certain process for educating visitors.  For example, “Would having a process to teach visitors and provide them with infection control items improve the rate of HAI’s (Hospital Acquired Infections) in your organization?” may have yielded more positive results.  However, we assume that it would have only put a higher percentage in the “It will depend” grouping.

 

As the results stand, 56.8% negatively regard an infection control station that patients pass through for infection control information, personal protective equipment (PPE) and so forth.  So, what could turn opinions about visitor hygiene education from negative to positive?  A glimpse into the “it depends” survey answers may help answer that question.  Specifically, a suitable solution needs to be low cost, low maintenance, quick, high results driven and also increase customer (visitor) satisfaction.  For, only necessary or tried and true processes have the luxury of being expensive and inconvenient.

 

Is there such a solution to reduce HAI’s that stem from hospital visitors?  At this point, there is no clear solution that looks to be implemented across multiple medical facilities.  To be fair, there are
public health initiatives, hygiene posters in hospitals, infection control pamphlets at reception desks, complimentary masks and other materials distributed to help reduce the spread of infections. 

 

Although each tool or piece of promotional material helps with varying magnitude, there is no congruency in strategy.  It seems that the norm for medical organizations is to exert a hodgepodge of effort that rarely accomplishes notable results.  Programs and campaigns are started and scrapped often, sometimes monthly.  In result, OUTFOX is developing a congruent strategy for infection control to achieve better outcomes. 

 

If you have a process or method for teaching visitors that has been proven to be successful then let us know!  We are looking for ideas, new tools or other ways that we can reduce the HAI’s found in hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities and other areas where visitors frequent.  We look forward to writing a follow up blog that includes great ideas.  Let’s OUTFOX infection together and realize a future with less illness and disease!

 

Contact Benjamin: Benjamin@OUTFOXprevention.com


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