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Handwashing Practices among Hospital Patients: Knowledge and Perception of Ambulatory Patients and Nursing Personnel
WRIGHT STATE UNIV DAYTON OH
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This report generates information specific to patient handwashing practices, a descriptive study was accomplished at two levels. Field observations were conducted to assess actual handwashing behaviors demonstrated by ambulatory hospital patients. Surveys were administered to the same patients and their nursing personnel to assess each groups knowledge level and perceptions about patient handwashing. The study consisted of 40 adult patients 20 on a medical unit and 20 on a surgery unit, and nursing personnel 22 registered nurses and 13 military medical technicians who provided nursing care to those patients. The study uncovered a paradox between knowledge and perceptions about patient handwashing held by the study participants and actual patient handwashing practices. Although patients and their nursing personnel held similarly high levels of knowledge and positive perceptions about the importance of handwashing to infection control, patient handwashing was demonstrated poorly in actual practice. Nursing personnel indicated that patient handwashing is a neglected practice in hospitals.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE