To assess the efficacy of parental education and use of parents as nursing assistants on reducing nosocomial infections.
Active surveillance for nosocomial infections was performed on two wards. On ward A, parents were educated about infection control practices and assisted nursing staff with routine tasks, so that nursing personnel could focus their efforts on procedures with higher risk of infection. Parental assistance was not sought on ward B, the comparison ward.
From October 1990 through September 1991, 1,081 patients were admitted to wards A (470) or B (611). The overall nosocomial infection rate was 7.1 per 100 admissions; the nosocomial infection rate was significantly higher on ward B than ward A (63/611 vs 14/470; P<.001). Multivariate analysis identified risk factors for nosocomial infection on the two wards as age <2 years (P=.01), malnutrition (P=.005), duration of hospitalization (P<.001), ward B hospitalization (P=.003), and ward cleanliness score (P=.009); the distribution of patients with these factors was similar on the two wards.
Our data suggest that parental infection control education and recruitment to relieve nursing staff of routine low-risk procedures are economical and easily implemented measures to reduce nosocomial infections in hospitals with limited personnel resources in the developing world.
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