Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are a significant healthcare burden in Canada. Hand hygiene (HH) is an effective and cost efficient method to prevent HAI. Studies have shown that education increases HH compliance amongst HCW; however, less research has been conducted on its impact on patients and families. This study evaluated an education program in a pediatric hospital and its impact on the short-term knowledge of patients/family members regarding infection prevention strategies including HH.
The aim of this study was to evaluate any change in knowledge of HH and general infection prevention awareness after a personal educational presentation was provided to the patient and family.
Admitted patients and their families at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were invited to participate from June to August 2015. Patients over nine years of age or a family member of patients under the age of nine years were included in the study. Excluded were non-English speaking individuals and those admitted to critical care and mental health units. A volunteer administered a standard questionnaire and observed HH before and after providing a personal educational presentation and demonstration to evaluate change in knowledge and HH performance. Participants were reassessed three days after the initial education session.
154 participants (68 patients, 86 family members) enrolled in the study, with 60 available for follow-up. The mean knowledge score increased by 55.82% (P<0.001) immediately after education and increased by 35.46% (P<0.001) from the pretest to the three-day follow-up. The mean HH performance score increased by 67.10% (P<0.001) immediately after and increased by 46.87% (P<0.001) from pretest to follow-up.
Patient and family centred education sessions were effective in improving short-term HH knowledge in a pediatric setting. Further strategies should be developed to improve long-term knowledge retention in this population which may help reduce the incidence of HAI.