A simple video-based awareness program significantly improved handwashing among family members visiting sick children in a pediatric intensive care unit, according to research in the June issue of the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Researchers monitored visits by 123 families to see how they could improve hygiene and reduce hospital-acquired infections like MRSA, which are a major cause of ill health and death among children in intensive care.
Research has shown that hospital acquired infections occur in about 10 per cent of patients on general hospital wards, but that children on pediatric intensive care units have a 20 percent to 30 percent chance of becoming infected says nurse researcher Dr. Li-Chi Chiang from the
For the first two months, 62 families were shown posters illustrating handwashing techniques and discussed the 10 key steps involved with staff. During the second two months, 61 different families were shown a hand-washing video and took part in the same discussions with staff.
The groups, which included parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, were then observed during subsequent visits to the unit in
Both groups significantly improved their hand-washing behaviour, but the video initiative proved much more effective says Chiang. When we marked each group on a scale of zero to 10, we found that in both groups compliance increased with each of the five visits monitored after guidance was provided. The video group started with an average score of 7.0 the first time we observed them and this rose to 8.6 by the fifth visit. The poster group was much less efficient at handwashing, starting at 4.7 and rising to 5.9.
Both the groups had similar profiles and education levels and the researchers took part in the initial viewing and discussion sessions to ensure consistency. There was also a 20-day gap between the groups to ensure that families only took part in one training initiative.
Chiang and co-author Yong-Chuan Chen from the
The video can be shown repeatedly in areas such as intensive care unit waiting rooms and hospital staff can be trained to reinforce the information in the video when interacting with visitors says Chiang.
Reference: Chen Y-C and Chiang L-C. Effectiveness of handwashing teaching programmes for families of children in paediatric intensive care units. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 16, pp 1173-1179. June 2007.
Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.