The issue of health has attracted increased attention in recent times. As health practitioners focus on modern infection-control practices, nurses continue putting more emphasis on traditional control measures that are safe and ethical. Kilpatrick, Allegranzi and Pittet (2009), observes that infectious diseases are currently a great threat to human health as well as their well-being. In the 21st century, various infections have turned a major threat to prosperity and social stability of the human kind. This is as a result of emergence of multi-drug-resistant strains of bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (CDT) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among others. These infections cause many deaths with thousand others suffering from poor health. Schneider, et al. (2009) observes that having sound measures for controlling infections help to significantly reduce the spread of both minor and major infections hence reducing suffering, mortality and morbidity rates. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is the simplest and single least-expensive way of reducing prevalence of many infections.
According to WTO (2012), every individual must embrace behavioural change. The health fraternity should also join the board by encouraging the public to actively comply with the stipulated infection-control practices. Further, the government is also contributing through the provision of high quality, safe and reliable care. Hand hygiene according to Erasmus, et al. (2009), is a simple, but high-impact intervention that helps in prevention and control of some of the fore mentioned infections. Infection control, therefore, remains one of the world governments’ agenda for reducing morbidity and mortality rates. Various infections control management systems have been put in place to assess and control infections, maintain appropriate clean environment and educate individuals on how to avoid preventable diseases. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the practice of hand washing virtually eliminates the majority of infections through contact. Increased compliance in hand hygiene practice was found to considerably reduce infection rates. Basically, on assessment of numerous data on transmission cycles, it was established that hands form a critical component in controlling such infections. Further, numerous intervention measures have confirmed the presence of a link between infectious disease transmission and hand hygiene.
This research essay applies both qualitative and quantitative methods to justify the effectiveness of hand hygiene in controlling infections. Qualitative methods refer to explanations that help in understanding why and how certain outcomes are arrived at with quantitative method involving numbers to interpret information. The research sampled relevant materials written between 2004 and 2012. Meta-analysis data collection method was used to collect data. Basically, Meta-analysis involves a combination of results from various studies with a view of identifying the pattern of variables under study. Meta-analysis method is used to review literature narrative. It involves combination and systematic identification of quantitative studies to examine the issue at hand. This method was found appropriate for this paper as it contrasts and more importantly reconcile a number of literatures based on qualitative review of the topic under study. According to RCN (2009), the research essay also takes into account the issue of ethics by using materials consented of the respective authors.
Literature Searching Process
The volume of online sources and bibliographical databases continues to expand. This has increasingly made the work of a researcher quite challenging making the practice of systematic and effective material search an area to focus. This study mainly dealt on online literature search guided by the four main sections of the entire paper. For instance, in the introduction section, the researcher searched material that covered infection control and hand hygiene. It is at this point that the researcher could establish the link between the two while at the same time developing themes to be focused. Considering that this research essay concerns medicine, a number of medical related databases such as CINAHL and British Nursing Index were accessed in search of relevant materials. CINAHL database has a high number of journals and other nursing materials that were very helpful. On the other hand British Nursing Index was found to comprise cross-sectoral libraries of nursing educational materials. Electronic search strategies were used to access research materials from the two databases guided by the research topic ‘infection control’ and sub-topic ‘hand hygiene’ which were the key words.
Although the research focused on research materials five years back, material that were ten years old and found useful were also considered. Additional methods such as wider internet searches were also used to ensure a thorough search. Many of the research materials were accessed electronically using short key phrases leading to retrieval of a variety of irrelevant matching studies from the databases. Generation of such high numbers of irrelevant materials made the search seemingly impossible and tiresome. However, simple search filters that comprised short phrases on both the main topic, and the sub-topic were developed to overcome this problem. In addition, date ranges were included to ensure accessed materials fell within one to ten years. Non-journal sources used in this research were also accessed electronically through Google books and Amazon.
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