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Psychological safety and infection prevention practices: Results from a national survey.

Greene MT, Gilmartin HM, Saint S. Psychological safety and infection prevention practices: Results from a national survey. American journal of infection control. 2020 Jan 1; 48(1):2-6.

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BACKGROUND: Psychological safety is a critical factor in team learning that positively impacts patient safety. We sought to examine the influence of psychological safety on using recommended health care-associated infection (HAI) prevention practices within US hospitals. METHODS: We mailed surveys to infection preventionists in a random sample of nearly 900 US acute care hospitals in 2017. Our survey asked about hospital and infection control program characteristics, organizational factors, and the use of practices to prevent common HAIs. Hospitals that scored 4 or 5 (5-point Likert scale) on 7 psychological safety questions were classified as high psychological safety. Using sample weights, we conducted multivariable regression to determine associations between psychological safety and the use of select HAI prevention practices. RESULTS: Survey response rate was 59%. High psychological safety was reported in approximately 38% of responding hospitals, and was associated with increased odds of regularly using urinary catheter reminders or stop-orders and/or nurse-initiated urinary catheter discontinuation (odds ratio, 2.37; P? = .002) for catheter-associated urinary tract infection prevention, and regularly using sedation vacation (odds ratio, 1.93; P? = .04) for ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention. CONCLUSIONS: We provide a snapshot of psychological safety in US hospitals and how this characteristic influences the use of select HAI prevention practices. A culture of psychological safety should be considered an integral part of HAI prevention efforts.

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