Background: Because educational needs of staff in long-term care facilities regarding infection control have, not been well studied, we conducted this study to measure long-term care staff members' knowledge, self-reported practices, and opinions about infection control and handwashing. Methods: A pilot study was conducted with 24 staff members of one long-term care facility to examine psychometric properties of study instruments. All nursing staff members (n = 105) from two additional long-term care facilities then completed a 14-item knowledge questionnaire, 22-item opinion survey, and 26-item survey of self-reported handwashing practices. Results: Respondents were predominantly female with mean age of 46 years; most had completed high school. Mean length of employment in the study facility was 12.4 years. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses scored significantly higher on knowledge (p = 0.0002) but significantly lower on self-reported practices (p = 0.01) than did trained nursing assistants. There was no significant correlation between self-reported practices and opinions regarding handwashing (p = 0.55). Neither level of knowledge nor positive opinion about the value of handwashing was associated with self-reported increases in handwashing practices. Conclusion: We conclude that education alone is not likely to be associated with changes in handwashing behavior. Instruments developed and tested in this study can be used in further research to correlate self-reported with observed behavior and to evaluate the effects of interventions on knowledge, opinions, and self-reported handwashing behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases