Research for infection protection

Interview: “100 % compliance in all hygiene-relevant moments is not realistic.”

Prof. Dr. med Günter Kampf, Member of the Medical Faculty, University of Greifswald, Germany
Prof. Dr. med Günter Kampf, Member of the Medical Faculty, University of Greifswald, Germany

Three questions to Prof. Dr. med. Günter Kampf.

You plead for more quality instead of quantity in hygiene – what measures are dispensable?

Günter Kampf: Our intervention study confirmed the hypothesis that it is difficult for the employees to implement hand hygiene in clinical routine. Additionally, in some wards, employees are required to disinfect their hands 60 to 80 times during one shift. With that in mind, more and more experts think that it is not realistic to reach a 100 % compliance in all hygiene-relevant moments. And, in practice, up to a third of the hand disinfection procedures are carried out in situations that do not require a hand disinfection. To achieve the necessary quick successes for patient protection, it is imperative to disinfect the hands when this helps prevent frequent or severe nosocomial infections, i.e. especially before an aseptic task.

Your intervention study helped considerably improve the hand hygiene compliance during one of the most frequent aseptic tasks. What was the key to success?

Günter Kampf: Even relatively clear routine measures such as the insertion of a peripheral venous catheter comprise 17 individual steps. We defined five of these steps that are particularly important for patient safety and brought them into an order that is comprehensible and can be easily memorised by employees. In addition to interventions such as the e-learning programme, the dummy training and the tray stickers, the individual feedback by the study nurse had an especially positive effect on the compliance rate. During the study, these feedbacks were increasingly considered helpful by the staff in the wards.

How can other facilities benefit from your intervention study?

Günter Kampf: First, the process for placing a peripheral venous catheter that we defined and tested during the study is a good standard operating procedure (SOP), which allows a high compliance among employees. Considering the many venous catheters that are placed in hospitals today, the adherence to the SOP would be a good contribution to patient safety, also in terms of quality. Additionally, our procedure could be a model for other nursing or medical activities in patients that involve an elevated risk of nosocomial infection, in particular other aseptic tasks such as the exchange of infusion systems, the manipulation of ventilation systems or urinary catheters. However, whether this model is also suitable for more complex activities in the patient needs further investigation.

Speech by Prof. Dr. med Günter Kampf, Member of the Medical Faculty, University of Greifswald, Germany. Lunchtime Symposium: Simple Processes – Improved Hygiene. New research results to protect patients in daily hospital routine, Berlin, Germany, 19 September 2013, arranged by the BODE SCIENCE CENTER, Hamburg, Germany, scientific centre of excellence of PAUL HARTMANN AG, Heidenheim, Germany.