Precaution adherence linked to safety of staff and patients

May 19, 2023

Results from a recent study evidence that a “positive safety climate and adherence to standard precautions” are integral in predicting “healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) and occupational health outcomes among patients and healthcare workers.” The findings, published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), detail the relationship between safety precaution adherence and health.

According to Amanda J. Hessels, PhD, MPH, RN, Assistant Professor, Columbia University School of Nursing and Nurse Scientist at Hackensack Meridian Health and the lead author on the published study, “Despite the infection prevention and safety benefits associated with standard precautions, generating consistent adherence in the healthcare setting has been notoriously challenging, for reasons that are not completely clear. To our knowledge, our study findings are the first to demonstrate an association between adherence, hospitals’ patient-safety climates, and outcomes, and should help to advance the state of the science in patient and occupational health and safety.” 

Key findings of the study include:

·      Approximately 385,000 sharps injuries occur among America’s 5.6 million healthcare workers;

·       Approximately 2 million hospitalized patients acquire one or more HAIs after receiving healthcare;

·       Adherence to standard precautions happens less than 50% of the time;

·       Overall adherence to all categories of standard precautions was 64.4%, with significant differences by provider role;

·       Overall adherence was highest among nurses (69.1%), followed by other providers (62.1%) and physicians (58%). 

“Keeping our healthcare workforce and patients safe is our number one priority as healthcare professionals,” said Patricia Jackson, RN, MA, CIC, FAPIC, 2023 APIC president. “The findings from this study provide important insights into the factors that impact HAIs and occupational injuries, and will help IPs design focused strategies for improvement.” 

APIC release