Patient experiences of partnering with healthcare professionals for hand hygiene compliance: a systematic review

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Abstract

Background

Healthcare-associated infections pose a significant risk to patients in acute healthcare settings such as hospitals. Increasingly, patients are encouraged to be active participants and partner with healthcare professionals to positively influence their own safety and overall experience throughout their healthcare journey. Patient-focused safety initiatives include the empowerment of patients to be active partners with healthcare professionals in order to influence the hand hygiene behaviors and compliance of the healthcare professionals providing care to them. Partnering within the context of healthcare, and between the patient and healthcare professional, can be considered as a general concept that involves the empowerment of patients to participate in their care. Terms used to describe patient partnering within healthcare vary and include patient participation, patient-centeredness, patient empowerment and patient engagement. Although patients appear generally to have positive attitudes and intentions about engaging in their safety and partnering in the healthcare setting, their intentions and actual behaviors vary considerably. Patients appear less likely to engage in behaviors that require questioning of the perceived or real authority of healthcare professionals. A patient's intention and subsequent act of partnering with healthcare professionals for hand hygiene compliance by the healthcare professional are influenced by complex internal, external and social factors as well as cultural, behavioral and systematic factors.

Objectives

To determine the best available evidence in relation to the experiences of the patient partnering with healthcare professionals for hand hygiene compliance.

Inclusion criteria Types of participants

The current review considered qualitative (critical or interpretive) papers that included adult in-patients and healthcare professionals (medical and nursing staff), in the acute hospital-care setting. Adult was considered to be any person aged 18 years or over. It should be noted that consumers in this context were patients and vice versa; the term patient is therefore used throughout this report for consistency.

Phenomena of interest

The current review considered studies that investigated the experience of partnership between patients and healthcare professionals in relation to hand hygiene compliance. This review investigated the phenomena of partnering from both the perspectives of the patient and the healthcare professional.

Types of studies

The current review considered studies that focused on qualitative data including, but not limited to, designs such as phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, action research and feminist research. As qualitative studies were identified and on appraisal found to be of sufficient quality for inclusion, this review did not seek alternate forms of evidence such as text and opinion.

Search strategy

The search strategy aimed to find both published and unpublished studies from 1990 to May 2015. Studies published in English were considered for inclusion in this review.

Methodological quality

Qualitative papers selected for retrieval were assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity prior to inclusion in the review using standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI).

Data extraction

Qualitative data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from JBI-QARI.

Data synthesis

Qualitative research findings were pooled using JBI-QARI.

Results

Following the systematic search and critical appraisal process, three studies were included in the review for data extraction and synthesis of findings. The review process resulted in 29 study findings that were aggregated into seven categories. The categories generated two meta-synthesized findings. The two final synthesized findings were as follows. Synthesized finding 1: Organizational structures enable partnering between healthcare professionals and patients for hand hygiene compliance; however, the culture, beliefs and behaviors of healthcare professionals and patients do not fully support this partnership. Synthesized finding 2: Patients have differing levels of knowledge and balance partnering in hand hygiene against possible detrimental impacts on the caring relationship provided by healthcare professionals, out of concern for their own wellbeing, health outcomes, treatment and/or recovery.

Conclusion

The current review highlights the complexity of the patient's experience of partnering with healthcare professionals for hand hygiene compliance. The experiences reported indicated that there is a possible disparity between the healthcare facility and healthcare professionals’ promotion and intention of partnering for hand hygiene compliance, and the actual patient's acceptance, participation, partnership, experience and implementation of this initiative. This disconnect between intent and action appears to be influenced by a number of factors including organizational structures as well as drivers such as cultural beliefs and behavior.

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