Researchers Assess the Optimal Location for Alcohol-based Handrub Dispensers in ICU Patient Rooms


The introduction of alcohol-based handrub dispensers has had a positive influence on compliance of healthcare workers with the recommended guidelines for hand hygiene. However, establishing the best location for these dispensers remains a problem, and no method is currently available to optimize the location of these devices. In this paper Boog, et al. (2013) describe a method to determine the optimal location for alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in patient rooms.

The researchers composed a method that consists of a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Firstly, different arrangements of dispensers were determined based on the results of two types of assessment: workflow observations and interviews with nurses and physicians. Each arrangement was then evaluated using two types of assessment: interviews with nurses and physicians and electronic measurements of the user frequency of the dispensers. This procedure was applied in a single-bed patient room on a thoracic surgery intensive care unit.
The workflow observations revealed that the activities of patient care were most often at the entrance and near the computer at the right side of the test room. Healthcare workers stated that the location of the dispenser should meet several requirements. Measurements of the frequency of use showed that the dispenser located near the computer, at the back of the room, was used less frequently than the dispenser located near the sink and the dispenser located at the entrance to the room.
The researchers say the applied method has potential for determining the optimal location for alcohol-based handrub dispensers in a patient room. Workflow observations and the expressed preferences of healthcare workers guide the choice for the location of alcohol-based handrub dispensers and these choices may be optimized based on measurement of the frequency of use of the dispensers. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: Boog MC, Erasmus V, de Graaf JM,  van Beeck E, Melles M and van Beeck EF. Assessing the optimal location for alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in a patient room in an intensive care unit. BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:510  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-510.

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