Patient engagement in HAI reduction strategies: 3 takeaways

Slowly but surely, hospitals have been trying to encourage more active engagement of patients and families in preventing healthcare-associated infections. It turns out, the key to lowering HAI rates may be more patient education, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers conducted a pilot study to examine the receptiveness of hospital patients toward a new empowerment tool aimed at increasing awareness and engagement of patients in preventing HAIs.

Patients were recruited from two surgical wards of a hospital and randomized into two groups: One group of patients received empowerment tools — an educational flip chart and brochure — while the other did not, and surveys were administered to all participants.

At the baseline survey, slightly more than half of the participants were highly willing to assist with infection control strategies. Highlighted below are three findings from the surveys.

  • Overall, all the participants at the baseline agreed they were significantly more likely to ask a physician or nurse a factual question then a challenging question.
  • After discharge, 23 of the 60 total patients reported discussing a health concern with a staff member, with a roughly even split among the active and control groups.
  • Only three participants in the whole study asked a staff member to wash their hands. The study did not specify to which group (active or control) these three participants belonged.

"Our results suggest that patients would like to be more informed about HAIs and are willing to engage with staff members to assist with the prevention of infections while in the hospital setting," wrote the study authors. "Further work is going to need to be undertaken to ascertain the best strategies to promote engagement and participation in infection control activities."



More articles on HAIs:
Nurse-physician collaboration may decrease HAIs, study finds
Maryland hospitals reduce infections, readmissions and errors
HAI rates down in California hospitals, C. diff persists

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