The home healthcare frontier: new study explores nurses’ knowledge and attitudes toward infection control
|Contact: Shannon Quinn
The home healthcare frontier: new study explores nurses’
Arlington, Va., December 13, 2018 – Home healthcare workers’ beliefs about infection prevention influence whether they comply with prevention protocols more than their actual knowledge of how to comply, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that altering perceptions about infection risk among home healthcare workers is a promising strategy for improving compliance with infection control procedures and decreasing rates of infections and hospitalizations for their patients.
A team of researchers from Columbia University and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, conducted an online survey of home healthcare nurses at two large, Medicare-certified home healthcare agencies in the northeastern United States. The analytic sample included 359 nurses. While participants self-reported high levels of both infection control compliance and knowledge, results showed that the two factors were not significantly associated.
By contrast, the survey indicated that nurse compliance may be driven more by subjectively held information than by the accuracy of knowledge, suggesting that infection control strategies should include targeting the perception of home healthcare workers by challenging existing beliefs – a tactic that has proven effective in promoting hand hygiene.
“Nurses play a critical role in infection control in home healthcare settings,” said the study’s lead author, David Russell, PhD, Center for Home Care Policy & Research, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, NY, and Department of Sociology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA. “Moving beyond a singular focus of knowledge by sharing messages that challenge perceptions on topics – from the influenza vaccine to proper handling of nursing bags – may go a long way toward enhancing compliance with effective infection control strategies.”
Key survey results:
“This study demonstrates the importance of understanding and addressing home healthcare nurses’ misperceptions about infection control measures,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Efforts to improve compliance need to update knowledge and target common misperceptions in order to reinforce proven methods of infection prevention and control.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The article is “Factors for compliance with infection control practices in home healthcare: findings from a survey of nurses' knowledge and attitudes toward infection control,” by David Russell, PhD, Dawn W. Dowding, PhD, RN, FAAN, Margaret V. McDonald, MSW, Victoria Adams, BSN, MSN, FNP-BC, Robert J. Rosati, PhD, Elaine L. Larson, PhD, RN, FAAN, CIC, and Jingjing Shang, PhD, RN (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2018.05.005). It appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 46, Issue 11 (November 2018) published by Elsevier. It is openly available.
The study is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (R01HS024723, PI Shang).
David Russell, PhD
Dawn W. Dowding, PhD, RN, FAAN
Margaret V. McDonald, MSW
Victoria Adams, BSN, MSN, FNP-BC
Robert J. Rosati, PhD
Elaine L. Larson, PhD, RN, FAAN, CIC
Jingjing Shang, PhD, RN
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