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HOSPITAL INFECTIONS: How many people enter the room?

The number of people who enter a patient’s hospital room, the length of time that  they are in the room, and what they touch when they are there were recorded in this observational study conducted in three hospitals.   Here are some of the findings (these are medians):

  • 5 room entries per hour (adult patients)
  • 8.5 room entries per hour (pediatric patients)
  • 3 to 3.5 different people entering the room per hour
  • 3 minutes spent in the room

There is also an interesting breakdown of what is touched in the room according to the type of person doing the touching — for example, nonclinical staff primarily touch the patient’s environment only.  Physicians are the most likely to touch nothing in the room.  The authors commented that the having numbers of people in and out of the patients’ rooms can have benefits for patients, in that patient needs can be more quickly identified, but that there is also the possibility that the patients may be at higher risk of contracting a health care-associated infection (HAI).

Source: Cohen, B., and others.  Frequency of patient contact with health care personnel and visitors: implications for infection prevention.  The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety;38(12):560-565, Dec. 2012.  Click here for text:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3531228/pdf/nihms421967.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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