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Ebp Hand Hygiene

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Submitted By sollarsp
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An exploration of the importance of Evidenced-Based Practice (EBP), and how it ensures quality healthcare and positive patient outcomes. We will take a look at a simple procedure such as hand washing and show why it is an EBP protocol.

Why Is Hand Washing So Important? Everyone in the world is responsible for good hand hygiene. As healthcare providers, it is important to teach our patience the importance of good hand hygiene to prevent spread of infection and or disease. By doing this, you are involving patients in their care and helping the greater cause of disease prevention. All healthcare facilities include hand hygiene protocols. Where I work, the hospital policy is that we wash our hands upon entering a patient’s room, put on gloves, remove gloves, wash hands upon leaving that patient’s room, then wash hand again upon entering the next patient’s room…and continue that routine with each patient. We were allowed to us hand sanitizer up to three times, in place of washing with soap and water, providing the patient is not on contact or any other special precautions. For the most part, most of do this, but I did not see everyone following this protocol, especially doctors. Most of the staff only use the sanitizer all of the time. The only time hand washing protocol seems to be followed fully is when I witness sterile procedures. This is a problem and causes increased occurrence of healthcare associated infections (HAIs), but it is difficult to ensure healthcare staff practice proper hand hygiene. From my previous work experiences, protocols were not in place and patients were not encouraged to wash their hands before and after meals, after elimination or at any point they felt their cleanliness had been jeopardized. Equally important to washing hands is drying them. Proper drying materials such as disposable paper towels need to be available because again I have witnessed many staff and patients using their clothing to dry their hands…which clothing carry bacteria. All of these factors can contribute to hospital acquired infections stemming from the result of bad hand hygiene. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is only one of the infections that can be acquired from the hospital setting, primarily because patients' immune systems are low. Transmission can be prevented if patients and healthcare providers follow infection control procedures. Hand washing takes approximately one minute but yet research shows that following hand hygiene guidelines seldom exceed 40%. According to Len Bowers (2012) in his article How to establish evidenced-based change in acute care settings, one of the various barriers in getting research into practice is health care provider compliance. As stated previously, although my previous employment facility had protocols and policies in place for proper hand hygiene, even when policies are implemented, they are hard to maintain. Unless there is a consistent “change,” it is impossible to do research and evaluate the results, which develops EBP. Also noted in the article Embedding a culture of Evidenced-Based Practice by Fitzsimons & Cooper, J., compliance is key. The author emphasizes this importance and how it is up to management to oversee and monitor that policies and protocols are being followed. The most significant factors associated with implementation are constant monitoring by data collection and report generation. Another article I found that supports the importance of proper hand hygiene was by Leslie Canham. It states “Evidence supports the premise that improved hand hygiene can reduce health care associated infection rates. Failure to perform appropriate hand hygiene is considered one of the leading causes of health care associated infections and has been recognized as a substantial contributor to outbreaks.” In conclusion, proper hand hygiene practices are one of the top factors in preventing infection. Although there are other factors that affect prevention of infection, hand hygiene is an important facet in EBP protocols. Health care professionals need to be good role models and educators and be more mindful to increase compliance in hand hygiene for themselves and the public. Health care providers’ behaviors towards the importance of hand hygiene may influence how others view the importance.

Bowers, L., Pithouse, A., & Hooton, S. (2012). How to establish evidence-based change in acute care settings. Mental Health Practice, 16(4), 22-25.
Fitzsimons, E., & Cooper, J. (2012). EMBEDDING A CULTURE OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE. Nursing Management - UK,19(7), 14-19.
Canham, L. (2011). The first step in infection control is hand hygiene. Dental Assistant, 80(1), 42-46.

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