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The VU University Medical Center, a tertiary-care hospital in the Netherlands, has adopted a dress code based on national guidelines. It includes uniforms provided by the hospital and a ‘bare-below-the-elbow’ policy for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in direct patient care. Because compliance was poor, we sought to improve adherence by interventions targeted at the main causes of noncompliance.
To measure compliance with the dress code, to assess causes of noncompliance and to assess whether a behavioral approach (combing a nominal group technique with participatory action) is effective in improving compliance
Between March 2014 and June 2016, a total of 1,920 HCWs were observed in hospital hallways for adherence to the policy, at baseline, and at follow-up measurements. Based on the outcome of the baseline measurement, a nominal group technique was applied to assess causes of noncompliance. The causes revealed served as input for interventions that were developed, prioritized, and tailored to specific groups of HCWs and specific departments through participatory action.
We identified lack of knowledge, lack of facilities, and negative attitudes as the main causes of noncompliance. The importance of each cause varied for different groups of HCWs. Tailored interventions targeted at these causes increased overall compliance by 39.6% (95% CI, 31.7–47.5).
The combination of a nominal group technique and participatory action approach is an effective method to increase and sustain compliance with hospital dress code. This combined approach may also be useful to improve adherence to other guidelines.
To investigate whether the safety culture of a hospital unit is associated with the ability to improve.
Qualitative investigation of safety culture on hospital units following a before-and-after trial on hand hygiene.
VU University Medical Center, a tertiary-care hospital in the Netherlands.
With support from hospital management, we implemented a hospital-wide program to improve compliance. Over 2 years, compliance was measured through direct observation, twice before, and 4 times after interventions. We analyzed changes in compliance from baseline, and selected units to evaluate safety culture using a positive deviance approach: the hospital unit with the highest hand hygiene compliance and 2 units that showed significant improvement (21% and 16%, respectively) were selected as high performing. Another 2 units showed no improvement and were selected as low performing. A blinded, independent observer conducted interviews with unit management, physicians, and nurses, based on the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Safety culture was categorized as pathological (lowest level), reactive, bureaucratic, proactive, or generative (highest level).
Overall, 3 units showed a proactive or generative safety culture and 2 units had bureaucratic or pathological safety cultures. When comparing compliance and interview results, high-performing units showed high levels of safety culture, while low-performing units showed low levels of safety culture.
Safety culture is associated with the ability to improve hand hygiene. Interventions may not be effective when applied in units with low levels of safety culture. Although additional research is needed to corroborate our findings, the safety culture on a unit can benefit from enhancement strategies such as team-building exercises. Strengthening the safety culture before implementing interventions could aid improvement and prevent nonproductive interventions.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2017;38:1277–1283
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