Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement

Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement

Grand Canyon University

NUR 550


Description of the Population and Health Concerns

According to Adegboye et al. (2018), hospitalized patients are likely to get HAIs and the fact that they have a weak immune system worsens this risk. To add on, most hospitalized patients are deficient in the knowledge that their clinical status can deteriorate since each patient is diagnosed with a different condition caused by a different organism that can be transmitted from one patient to another. Instead, most patients are hopeful of improving and reuniting with family and loved ones or resuming their activities of daily life after receiving the appropriate medical care. Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement


The hands and skin of healthcare providers are colonized by pathogens such as multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria, clostridium difficile and MRSA. Moreover, there are many epithelial cells shed by the skin that have viable microorganisms, which can contaminate medical equipment in a patient’s immediate environment. Within the hospital setting, the surgical unit, critical care unit, intensive care unit and the emergency department are documented to have such high rates of hand contamination. Hands are contaminated when: a patient’s intact skin is touched, touching non-living objects surrounding a patient or when doing basic procedures such as taking a patient’s vital signs.

Adegboye et al. (2018) describe HAIs as infections that develop within 48 hours or more after admission in a healthcare setting or 30 days after receiving care. Hospital-Acquired infections are of public health significance since they contribute to mortalities, morbidities, increased costs of care, prolonged admissions and pose a threat to the safety of patients. Poor practices of hand hygiene among medical staff are the major contributor to high incidences of HAIs (King et al. 2016). Also referred to as nosocomial infections, HAIs have captured the attention of key players in the health sector, healthcare providers, policymakers, the federal and state governments, not because it causes significant morbidity, mortality and increased healthcare costs, but because it is a preventable health issue.

Impact on Population Health Management

Based on the statistics provided by the CDC, every year, more than 2 million patients are hospitalized and get hospital-acquired infections when receiving treatment for other conditions (Adegboye et al., 2018). Out of the 2million, an estimated ten thousand die from nosocomial infections. Therefore, to provide high-quality care that guarantees the safety of patients in resource-rich and resource-limited settings, it is important to prevent these infections. More specifically, in the US, one out of 136 patients gets seriously ill because of HAIs. This equates to 1.7 million cases annually causing additional costs of between US$ 4.0–5.0 billion and an estimated 90 000 deaths (Haverstick et al., 2017). Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement

Currently, existing research enlists several reasons to explain why HAIs are increasing at an alarming rate in this century. First are surgical and medical procedures that extend beyond the body’s natural protective barrier, second is a gradual increase in the number of sick patients admitted in hospitals and healthcare providers who move from one patient to another when giving care creating a channel for transmitting pathogens (Haverstick et al., 2017).  Besides, although most hospitals have hygiene protocols that explain how to sterilize medical equipment, their implementation is poorly done and this makes them ineffective. This explains the need for the leadership of healthcare institutions to ensure that hygiene protocols are adhered to through proper implementation to prevent HAIs. Healthcare organizations with limited resources such as water increase the risk of HAIs. Therefore, health facilities should have an adequate supply of clean water to reduce this risk. Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement

Solution Overview

There is immense progress in healthcare in pursuit of understanding the pathology of communicable diseases and how multi-drug resistant infectious diseases are spread from one person to another in hospitals. There is also evidence to support that the hands of healthcare providers are the main source of HAIs among critically ill patients (Fox et al., 2015). This finding promotes the need to conduct further research on how to prevent HAIs in hospitals by observing basic hygiene principles.

In most hospitals, handwashing is the most important and effective infection control procedure that prevents transmission of pathogens from person to person. According to the findings by the WHO, handwashing with soap and water has a scientific basis and the most appropriate intervention that reduces the transmission costs of pathogens and the rates of HAIs (Haverstick et al., 2017). When combined with other infection control strategies, handwashing produces better results.            

Clinical Question/PICOT Statement

Among hospitalized patients aged 18 years or older (P), how does washing hands using soap and water (I) compared to using hand sanitizers(C), help to reduce incidences of HAIs (O) within 3 months (T)?

Health Equity

As highlighted by King et al. (2016), the CDC published revised guidelines and policies in 2002 on handwashing practices in healthcare settings that all healthcare organizations are required to adhere to. The guidelines strongly recommend that healthcare providers use hand rubs and alcohol sanitizers to decontaminate hands between each non-soiled patient and wash hands using clean running water and soap for visibly contaminated or soiled hands. Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement.



Adegboye, M. B., Zakari, S., Ahmed, B. A., & Olufemi, G. H. (2018). Knowledge, awareness, and practice of infection control by health care workers in the intensive care units of a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. African health sciences18(1), 72-78.

Fox, C., Wavra, T., Drake, D. A., Mulligan, D., Bennett, Y. P., Nelson, C., … & Bader, M. K. (2015). Use of a patient hand hygiene protocol to reduce hospital-acquired infections and improve nurses’ hand washing. American Journal of Critical Care24(3), 216-224.

Haverstick, S., Goodrich, C., Freeman, R., James, S., Kullar, R., & Ahrens, M. (2017). Patients’ handwashing and reducing hospital-acquired infection. Critical care nurse37(3), e1-e8.

King, D., Vlaev, I., Everett-Thomas, R., Fitzpatrick, M., Darzi, A., & Birnbach, D. J. (2016). “Priming” hand hygiene compliance in clinical environments. Health Psychology35(1), 96. Benchmark – Part A: Population Health Research and PICOT Statement



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