Awareness of infection control practices among visitors to Intensive Care Unit - A Prospective Observational Study
Background: Awareness of basic infection control practices by patient relatives could improve the outcome in ICU. Restrictive visitation policy (RVP) is the rule in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) worldwide. Open visitation policy (OVP) is preferred in a patient-family centred care but is not practiced because of the fear of increasing the risk of infection.
Methods: This was a prospective, questionnaire-based observational study. Printed questionnaires were distributed to the visitors of medical, surgical and neurosurgical ICU patients to determine awareness of basic infection control practices among visitors to an ICU. All the ICU staff, including nurses, doctors, consultant panel and other paramedical personnel were excluded from participating in this study.
Results: A total of 70 visitors to ICU were given questionnaires over a period of one week, of which 52 (70%) relatives replied. It was observed that most of the visitors (92%) were aware that they are at high risk of acquiring infection because of ICU visit. Most of the visitors were aware of precautions to be taken (76%), implementing standard precautions (52%) and washing their hands before entering ICU (56%).
Conclusion: The awareness of relatives of patients visiting ICU about various infection control practices recommended by WHO for prevention of secondary infections in ICU was very good. Thus, with early guidance (at entry) to the visitors in ICU and appropriate display of signboards and distribution of information booklets, an OVP to ICU's in an urban setting is not a far-fetched reality.
Key Words: Awareness, ICU, Intensive care unit, Infection control, Open visitation Policy.