Combating infection is one of the critical issues hospitals and doctor clinics face across the country. Within these organizations, there’s extensive focus placed on proper training and policy to ensure everyone who may come in contact with a patient practices appropriate protocol to limit (minimize) the potential spread of an infection. What has often been overlooked at times, though, when it comes to infection control has been in how home health care nurses deal with these same issues.
Just because a patient is recovering at home doesn’t mean spread of infection is something to be ignored. It can be just as serious an issue at home as in any hospital setting.
However, the question of what brings about improved compliance in following proper procedure and protocol can help visiting nurses and aides minimize risk. A recent study found that it’s not knowledge base that matters most with this issue, but attitudes or the professionals and organizational practices.
News Medical Life Sciences noted in its blog, Study finds factors for compliance with infection control practices in home health care, sourced from Columbia University:
“Jingjing Shang, PhD, assistant professor of nursing at Columbia University School of Nursing, who is one of the lead authors said, “Infection is a leading cause of hospitalization among home health care patients, and nurses have a key role in reducing infection by compliance with infection control procedures in the home care setting. This study tells us that knowledge is not enough. Our efforts to improve compliance need to focus on ways to alter nurses’ attitudes and perceptions about infection risk.”
The researchers surveyed 359 home health care nurses in the U.S., analyzing their knowledge of, attitudes toward, and compliance with infection control practices. They examined the relationships between knowledge, attitudes, and compliance.”
If it’s a matter of attitude compared to knowledge, this essentially means more training on specific protocols is not necessarily going to make the difference in reducing infectious spread (though that also does not preclude proper training). It’s the approach, the attitude, and understanding about infections, how they spread, and the importance of limiting these factors that may matter more.
Home care agencies, as the organizations in question, can set in place improved policies that their home health care workers must follow and seek out those nurses and other professionals who already possess a positive and right attitude about these factors to ensure improved care of clients and reduction in infectious spread.