The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


David F. Wolfe, Robert S. Pikarsky, Tracey E. Farrell; Sleep Center, Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, NY

BACKGROUND: Hand washing with soap and water, or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, are widely accepted as the most effective ways of preventing healthcare-associated infections. Since patients visit facilities designed to diagnose sleep disorders, these sleep centers and labs must adhere to this standard of care to limit the spread of infection. We sought better hand washing scores on our patient satisfaction survey. To do this, hand washing cards, explaining that the sleep center staff will be washing their hands, were distributed to each patient. Since hand washing was brought to the patient’s attention, our hypothesis was that the hand washing cards would improve our survey scores for the question, “Staff washed their hands or used hand sanitizer before caring for me”. METHODS: Upon greeting, staff members told each patient that they would be washing their hands or using hand sanitizer each time they entered the patient’s room. A card, explaining that the staff member would be cleaning their hands, was signed and dated by the patient and staff member. Satisfaction scores from patients completing hand washing cards were compared to scores of patients not completing hand washing cards. Significance was determined by a Mann Whitney U-test. RESULTS: In the 5 full months preceding implementation of the hand washing cards, the average patient satisfaction score for the question, “Staff washed their hands or used hand sanitizer before caring for me”, was 92.56. The average score was 94.38 for the 5 full months when the hand washing cards were distributed to the patient. There was a 1.82 (1.9%) point increase in the average patient satisfaction score when the sleep center staff used the hand washing cards. A Mann Whitney U-test showed no significant difference (p=0.1583) between patients receiving hand washing cards and those that did not. CONCLUSIONS: Although the implementation of hand washing cards increased the hand cleanliness satisfaction score, it was not significant. However, implementation of a program that notifies patients of improved infection control procedures may increase patient satisfaction scores and help achieve Pay for Performance goals. Future studies, with larger sample sizes, may demonstrate improved infection control outcomes and patient satisfaction scores. Sponsored Research - None